Karim Habib returns to BMW as Head of Exterior Design

News | December 14th, 2010 by 17
Karim Habib Clay Modeling lg 750x500

Karim Habib makes an unexpected return to BMW after its sudden move to Mercedes-Benz two years ago. The 40-year old designer has been known as …

Karim Habib makes an unexpected return to BMW after its sudden move to Mercedes-Benz two years ago. The 40-year old designer has been known as the creator of the new BMW 7 Series and CS Concept exterior design.

Habib is replacing Anders Warming who moved up as the chief designer at MINI.

We wish Habib good luck and we are hoping to see more CS Concept-like vehicles.

Press Release: Karim Habib will take on the post of Head of Exterior Design BMW Automobiles, replacing Anders Warming. The 40-year-old designer already spent the first 10 years of his career working for the BMW Group, during which time he was responsible for the current BMW 7 Series range and the BMW Concept CS. Habib now returns to the Group following an absence of two years.

Karim Habib Clay Modeling lg 655x482

On completing his studies in California, Karim Habib held various posts in interior and exterior design before being appointed Team Leader, Advanced Design for the BMW Group. Following two intervening career years, he now returns to head the Exterior Design BMW Automobiles department.

“I’m really delighted about coming back to the BMW brand and being given the opportunity to help shape the future of BMW as part of an outstanding team,” says Habib.

“Karim Habib is an excellent designer who has already made a major contribution to the BMW design with the current BMW 7 Series. I look forward to resuming our collaboration,” comments Adrian van Hooydonk, Director of BMW Group Design.

[Source: BMW ]

17 responses to “Karim Habib returns to BMW as Head of Exterior Design”

  1. Joe says:

    This is massive. Another Lebanese brother ruling design!

  2. Heddlu_Cymru M5 says:

    I wasn’t expecting this… Welcome back Karim =D

  3. Laszlo says:

    oh crap, a bungle follower comes back. throw out the designs… whats next ? The certified idiot bungle will return from his pigsty design studio ? hope not…

    • BIMMER1 says:

      You do realize that the current head of design, Adrian van Hooydonk, was Bangle’s understudy for years. Obviously, that didn’t mean much because the new cars coming out now are IMO nothing like the Bangle designs.

      • bob says:

        You do realize that the new cars coming out now share the same design theme of Habib’s Concept CS of ’07…which was done under Bangle’s direction.

  4. Giom Mouton says:

    I wonder why the move to MB in the first place, and I wonder why he’s now back. I don’t think he is too much of a BMW faitfull after leaving for MB. Hopfully there’s a good reason for that.

    Hope it’s not to spy or something.

  5. Tom says:

    wow so unexpected! congrats!! now lets see some radical designs..

  6. TB says:

    LOL, did BMW send a spy to MB’s Advanced Design Studio , like they did with Warming when leaving for VW Group Design Centre Europe for 2 years? ;) Interesting, BMW designers coming back to BMW AG from the rival companies, now with all the new intel & insight what rivals are working on. Remember when Schreyer went to KIA, and suddenly some KIA cars got Audi-like design cues?

  7. Mehyar H says:

    Next, Chris Bangle returns!! Suprise!

  8. bob says:

    Anecdotal evidence of BMW AG’s organizational strength. Particularly, the sustainable design culture that Bangle created.

    5 W’s.

    Warming & Habib. VW & Daimler’s M-B poached Warming & Habib, respectively, because, not only their lead designs, E85 & F01-02, respectively, but that both were instrumental in new design themes for BMW. Keep in mind, why those two, and not any of the other lead designers?

    Both seemingly decided to monetise their exposure within the industry. No doubt Habib wouldn’t have enjoyed taking a pay cut, at that time, that AG mandated for every employee. AG had no qualms saying, “B-b-b Bye”.

    The compensation may be greener, but the grass isn’t.

    In each case, there must have been a specific situation whereby, simultaneously, VW & M-B realized that hiring BMW designers doesn’t mean that can replicate BMW work, while Warming & Habib realized that VW & M-B don’t have the capacity for them to flourish. Presumably, the process takes about two years.

    Now, they’re back in Munich, performing functions more creatively rewarding.

    Somewhere in Italy Bangle is smiling…

  9. Beembo says:

    This is a clear signal to all BMW designers: if you want to advance your career you should quit your job, go work for a competitor and return after a couple of years!!!

  10. BIMMER1 says:

    I’m not sure what to think of this. I guess it’s nice to have him back, but at the same time after 10 years with BMW he basically spit on them and went to work for the main competition. Now that Benz doesn’t want to pay him he comes crawling back, and BMW welcomes him? Whatever happened to loyalty in this world? Regardless of his past work with BMW, no matter how good it might have been, they should have kicked him to the curb. At least that’s what the BMW of 10 years ago would have done before all the wrong people started turning BMW into an everyday plain jane car company. That’s just more evidence that the accounts and shareholders are running the company, and not the engineers like the old days.

  11. bob says:

    Check out this blog from autocar.co.uk: http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/autocarconfidential/archive/2010/12/15/the-future-of-bmw-and-mini-design.aspx

    Towards the end, there are some quotes from AvH about Habib’s rehiring.

    Overall, some good reprting, actually.

    • BIMMER1 says:

      I still feel that they should have passed. If he really wanted to be with BMW he never should have left after 10 years. If it’s my business and you leave after ten years to work for my main competition, you are not coming back to work for me. There was a day when that used to the law of the business world. But that was when people actually cared and had some sense of loyalty. Today it’s me me me me me me me. Screw you.

      • bob says:

        And that was the case with BMW AG, too. Recall the famous situation with Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle. The Quandts wouldn’t appoint him Chairman of the Vorstand because they questioned his loyalty, after tentatively agreeing to be the then next head of Porsche. As we all know, both he & “BP” were later ousted (Rover doo-doo).

        In the case of Warming, I even talked to one of ROUNDEL’s regulars who was just as surprised at his rehiring; to the effect, “Once you leave, there’s no coming back.”

        In Habib’s case, consider the timing. It’s a key factor, IME. He would’ve had already gotten attention from his industry peers for the Concept CS; even more when the F01-02 reached SOP – officially made public that he’d won the ‘contest’ for the exterior design….circa late ’08.

        For ’09, BMW mandated paycuts for every employee. 40% for members of both Boards; 33% for the level just beneath them; 25% for managers; and, 10% for factory workers.

        Difficult choice for Habib. He may never be more attractive to potential suitors than then. If he stayed, he would’ve taken a significant paycut, just at the time he’s most valuable.

        More importantly, it should be said that Warming & Habib are probably isolated exceptions. BMW basically didn’t care when Fisker and Stephenson left.

        So, most importantly, what do Warming & Habib possess that would prompt BMW to rehire them – at a higher job level! – that others don’t? My guess is that BMW deems them as too talented to permanently sever ties.

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