Having presided over the German marque for four years, Harald Krueger is stepping down as CEO of BMW. He will not seek an extension of his contract, effective through April of 2020, and the board will meet to discuss finding his successor on July 18th. In the meantime, Krueger will remain in position until a successor is named. According to AP News, Krueger is under fire for losing BMW’s lead in luxury car sales, and for failing to capitalize on an early lux EV start.
Over the course of four years Krueger held office over what is possibly BMW’s worst era. The company has been taking hit after hit, losing its lead in the luxury segment to Mercedes-Benz, and failing to make meaningful inroads on electric drive, autonomous tech, emissions tech, and a wildly changing global economy.
It’s not a good look when tiny upstart Tesla takes over the premium-priced electric cars segment. BMW launched the i3 in 2013, followed quickly by the i8 sports car, and have not managed to add appealing follow-ups since.
Earlier this year BMW was hit with a 1.4 billion euro fine in an anti-trust case which found the car maker guilty of collaborating with other car makers to fix prices of certain technologies and delay the release of lower emissions tech. It’s likely that this has come into play in Krueger’s decision, as this contributed to BMW cars showing a Q1 2019 in the red, saved only by the profits of BMW financial and BMW Motorrad. Meanwhile, even without counting the fine, the company has experienced its lowest profit since the 2008 recession.
A plan was recently announced for BMW to cut costs by as much as $13.6 billion, including dropping some models from its ever expanding lineup, and ending an international racing program.
Anyway, it hasn’t been a good four years for Krueger.