Norbert Reithofer has led BMW since 2006, during which time the company has revised its nomenclature to include the 2 Series and 4 Series, expanded its SUV range with the X1, X4 and X6, and seen the departure of controversial design chief Chris Bangle. Reithofer also oversaw the company's introduction of the i3 electric hatchback and i8 plug-in supercar.
Reithofer will stand down at the end of the company's annual general meeting on May 13, 2015. Reithofer's current contract as head of BMW was set to expire in 2016; he will be nominated to the company's supervisory board and become BMW's chairman.
According to Professor Joachim Milberg, BMW's current chairman: "The automotive industry is undergoing a fundamental shift. Those who want to play an active role in shaping tomorrow’s mobility need constantly to find viable solutions to future challenges. The BMW Group plans to maintain its leading role in the premium segment. To achieve this, we have to hand over responsibility to the next generation at an appropriate time."
In a process the company is dubbing "generational change", Krueger (above) is set to be the youngest CEO of a major automaker. Currently 49 years old, Kruger is several years the junior of Mary Barra, 52, head of GM; Mark Fields, 53, Ford's CEO; and Carlos Ghosn, 60, who is CEO at both Renault and Nissan.
Krueger has a degree in mechanical engineering and has been at BMW since 1992. In that time he's headed up the company's HR department, as well as the Mini, Rolls-Royce and BMW motorcycle divisions; since April 2013 he's been the company's production chief.