2016 Will Be a Celebratory and Transitional Year for BMW
The 100th anniversary of BMW will be celebrated in 2016. BMW virtually disappeared in 1919, was nearly swallowed by Daimler Benz in 1959, and stumbled in 1999 as the Rover deal unraveled. But since 2007, with the introduction of Strategy One, BMW has performed remarkably.
The next 100 years promise to be as challenging as the first. What we know as a car, personal transportation, will undergo substantial change as environmental regulations, fuel economy requirements, and demographic changes wreak havoc on the status quo. Having the right goals and appropriate strategies to achieve them is paramount. And BMW has done well with its Strategy Number One, revealed in 2007.
The year 2016 also marks another significant event at BMW. It marks the end of Dr.-Ing Norbert Reithofer’s tenure as CEO. Unless the Supervisory Board extends the retirement age beyond 60 years, Dr. Reithofer will need to be replaced.
The role of CEO in an organization can range from essential to ornamental depending on the company. If it tends towards the former, the breadth of experience in the company and personal ties/networking to its key employees, in particular the production and research arms at BMW, are prerequisites for evaluating a CEO candidate.
The pool of potential candidates for the role of CEO at BMW is most probably restricted to those who are currently members of the Board of Management, even though there may be potential candidates that have yet to be elevated to the executive board.
BMWBLOG believes the potential candidate will have been involved in production planning/supervision and also will have served in one of the two major non-European markets for BMWs, China or the United States. There are seven members of the Board of Management reporting to the CEO, six of which have technical/production process backgrounds.
Of the six, two will be beyond retirement age in 2016 (assuming that 60 is still retirement age, and if the retirement age is changed one would presume that Dr. Reithofer would be retained as CEO). All but one of the remaining will be 60 within three years of 2016.
The remaining executive board member that has the requisite technical/production background, and is young enough to serve a term of six plus years as CEO, is Harald Krüger. Other news sources, including Automotive News, have speculated that Harald Krüger is in line to succeed Dr. Reithofer.
While it is to early to assign certainty to Harald Krüger’s succession to the CEO role in 2016, it makes sense to us given the selection parameters we believe are relevant to BMW. Regardless of whom BMW selects to succeed Dr. Reithofer, we are confident however that the Supervisory Board will do everything possible to ensure a smooth transition and that the CEO that is selected helps guarantee the future of the BMW Group.