BMW CEO, Krueger To Step Down

BMW Chief Executive Officer, Harald Krueger will step down following low profits at the German luxury automaker.

Krueger, 53, will not seek a contract extension, which expires at the end of April 2020, BMW said on Friday.

The board of directors will meet to discuss the issue of a successor on July 18 and Krueger will remain in his job until a decision is made.

According to Reuters, Oliver Zipse, a board member, is among those being considered to be the automaker’s next CEO.

Munich-based BMW is facing pressures that are affecting the car industry across the board, including high costs to develop electric vehicles to meet tighter emissions regulations in Europe and China, and investments in autonomous vehicles to compete with tech companies like Waymo and Uber.

BMW CEO, Krueger To Step Down

BMW had been an early leader in moving to electric cars, launching a battery-driven vehicle, the i3, in 2013 ahead of competitors Daimler and Volkswagen – but did not follow up with compelling successors. It has focused much of its electric effort on plug-in hybrids, which combine internal combustion and electric power.

Krueger, who became CEO in 2015, was “too cautious,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the CAR Center for Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen. “BMW was not able to use the head start for a new generation of electric vehicles.”

Under Krueger’s four-year stewardship BMW also lost its market-leading position in the luxury market to competitor Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand.

More recently BMW lost money on its automotive business in the first quarter of the year after the company was hit by a 1.4 billion euro ($1.6 billion) charge for an anti-trust case and by higher upfront costs for new technology. Only the financial services and motorcycle divisions kept the group as a whole in profit.

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