BMW chairman Harald Krüger to step down

08 July 2019

8 July 2019

Harald KrÜger, chairman of BMW, has given notice that he will not stand for a second term at the helm of the German carmaker.

′The BMW Group has been my professional home for more than 27 years. After more than ten years in the Board of Management, more than four of which as the CEO of the BMW Group, I would like to pursue new professional endeavours and leverage my diverse international experience for new projects and ventures,’ said KrÜger.

The company will address the matter of a successor at its next Supervisory Board meeting on 18 July, with KrÜger staying in the role of chairman until a decision has been made, the company said in a statement.

KrÜger assumed the position of chairman of the Board of BMW from Norbert Reithofer on 13 May 2015. Under his leadership, the company put forward Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT, which has enabled the carmaker to shape the transformation of the industry and the transition towards sustainable mobility of the future.

However, his time heading up the carmaker has seen a series of challenges, with the Dieselgate scandal causing a collapse in a market the German manufacturer has been prolific in, while accusations were levelled at its own emissions. BMW is also facing a large fine over its involvement in an emissions cartel with fellow German carmakers VW and Daimler. It is the only one of the three to deny any involvement.

EV investment

There have also been questions over BMW’s commitment to electric vehicle (EV) technology and its failure to capitalise on its early adoption of the technology. The i3 was launched in 2013 but under KrÜger, sales of the model have dropped dramatically. With the fall of diesel, carmakers are turning to EVs to meet strict CO2 emissions targets set by the EU and BMW is now playing catch-up with the technology.

The company recently announced it would bring forward its plans to release 25 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) to 2023 – two years earlier than it originally stated. BMW’s main domestic rivals Audi and Daimler, as well as Jaguar, have rolled out long-range BEV SUVs before BMW’s planned entry into the market, the iX3, which will launch in 2020. 

Mobility future

However, KrÜger has prepared the company for the future of mobility. Under his leadership, the carmaker has partnered with Daimler to merge its DriveNow car-sharing programme with Daimler’s car2go, creating five new companies in the process.

Last week, both manufacturers expanded this partnership into the development of autonomous vehicle technology, with a new platform under development that will be used independently by the carmakers.

′Over the last years, the automotive industry has been shaped by enormous changes, which have brought about more transformation than in the previous 30 years. This has demanded tremendous efforts from every employee within the company. It has always been a true honour for me to work with this tremendous team and to set the BMW Group on a path towards a successful future during the most significant transformation of this industry,’ said KrÜger.