BMW: Oliver Zipse follows Krüger

Many challenges

Date: 22.07.2019
Author: Duran Sarikaya

The German car manufacturer BMW has a new CEO. The new chairman succeeds Harald Krüger, who recently announced that he would not be running for a second term. Zipse replaces the outgoing CEO in mid-August.

However, the new CEO is not taking on a simple job. Like the entire automotive industry, BMW is also struggling with the global decline in demand for passenger cars. In addition, customs and trade disputes and the Brexit in October are complicating the situation.

Zipse nearly 30 years at BMW

German carmakers are also under increasing pressure when it comes to electric mobility. BMW recently announced its intention to focus more on hydrogen drives. A model could be presented this year together with Toyota.

Zipse is no stranger to BMW. After studying in the USA and Darmstadt, he has been working for the Munich-based car manufacturer since 1991. Since 2015, he has been head of production for the 31 BMW plants around the world. Internally, the 55-year-old is regarded as sociable, willing to compromise and assertive.

The expectations towards the new CEO are high. Horst Lischka, head of IG-Metall Munich and BMW supervisory board member, demanded that the new CEO must position himself clearly in order to eliminate the uncertainty among employees and suppliers.

Favorite prevails

Another candidate to succeed Krüger was 59-year-old Klaus Fröhlich. As head of development, he recently negotiated a cooperation deal with competitor Daimler and presented the new BMW models. Fröhlich is regarded as a very self-confident, sometimes even aggressive BMW manager. With him, the car manufacturer could have gone a new way. After all, the current boss Krüger was considered too soft and too nice for the automotive industry. He was CEO of the Munich Company for four years.

Whether Zipse can meet these requirements remains to be seen. It is also unclear who will take over his previous position as head of production.