BMW chief quits German carmaker

The boss of German car giant BMW has said he will quit the business during a tough time for the industry with falling profits and the rise in electric car investments, the company revealed.

Harald Kruger, who has been with BMW for 27 years, will not seek a second term to his tenure at the top – a position he has held for four years.

Discussions over a replacement will take place at a board meeting on July 18, bosses said.

Mr Kruger said: “The BMW Group has been my professional home for more than 27 years. After more than 10 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.”

Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the supervisory board, said he respected and understood the decision.

He added: “Over the last quarter century, Harald Kruger has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the BMW Group in all of the various positions he has held.”

During his time as chief executive, Mr Kruger has grown the business in the US and China, with record sales in the region.

BMW chief executive Harald Kruger
BMW chief executive Harald Kruger

However, BMW has been slow to enhance its electric vehicle offering, with Mr Kruger facing criticism for slowing the company’s early progress.

In June, bosses said they would speed up electrification plans, introducing 25 electric and hybrid cars from 2023 – two years earlier than previously announced.

In the UK, latest accounts show sales in the year to December 31 2018 were down slightly at £5.6 billion, also profits slumped to £10.3 million from £76.3 million following a dividend payout.

Despite the fall, bosses said in the accounts that they remain committed to the UK, at a time when rivals are pulling back due to the changing state of the industry and Brexit uncertainty.

Directors said: “We are currently going to great lengths to prepare our production network for the impact of Brexit.”

BMW had previously brought forward its summer shutdown of its Mini factory in Oxford to April in an attempt to lower disruption around the previous Brexit date in March.