BMW CEO Harald Krüger Stepping Down After Company Struggles in Q1

Disappointing sales and a slow transition to electric vehicles are causing concern in Bavaria.

Harald Krüger BMW CEO
BMW AG

A bit of a corporate shakeup has occurred at BMW as the company’s supervisory board announced that current CEO Harald Krüger will step down “to pursue new professional endeavors.” According to a report from the Associated Press, however, Krüger is leaving his position when his term expires in 2020 due to unsatisfactory financial earnings in the first quarter of this year.

Krüger has been a part of the BMW Group for nearly three decades and more than 10 of those years were on BMW’s board of management, with four spent in the role of chief executive officer. He also became the center of attention at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show when he collapsed during a press conference from fatigue.

BMW supposedly lost a significant amount of money and market share after regulators slammed the automaker with a $1.6-billion fine in an anti-trust case. To make matters worse financially, BMW also faced higher upfront costs for some of its investments in new technology in the wake of its pursuit for improved mobility services, autonomous vehicle tech, and electric vehicles in the coming years.

As a result, the company’s automotive division failed to post a profit while the financial services and motorcycle departments remained healthy with their margins.

“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 endeavors and leverage my diverse international experience for new projects and ventures,” said Krüger in his official statement.

BMW AG

Krüger succeeded Dr. Norbert Reithofer in May of 2015 as the company’s CEO and has been largely responsible for the Munich automaker’s strategic partnerships over the last several years. Some of these efforts included boosting BMW’s electric vehicle plans and some of the current mobility services offered by the company.

Despite the disappointing financial results, Reithofer still praised Krüger’s performance at BMW and wished him well on his new journey.

“Over the last quarter century, Harald Krüger has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the BMW Group in all of the various positions he has held. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for his great personal commitment. I have complete respect and understanding for his decision and for his further plans,” said Reithofer in his statement. He currently maintains a position as the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of BMW AG.