BMW is seeking a new leader as it works to find its place in a global auto sector disrupted by the rapid rise of electric vehicles.
The luxury car company announced Friday that Harald Krueger is standing down after four years as CEO. The company’s board will address the matter of succession during a meeting this month.
Krueger has worked at the German carmaker for nearly three decades. He thanked employees for their efforts in a statement but said he was leaving to “pursue new professional endeavors.”
“Over the last years, the automotive industry has been shaped by enormous changes, which have brought about more transformation than in the previous 30 years,” said Krueger.
The pace of change has presented huge new challenges for global carmakers, and BMW is no exception. The company’s profit shrunk in the first quarter, in part because of an expected fine, and its automotive division posted a loss.
BMW last month set a goal of having 25 electrified models in 2023, two years ahead of schedule. It said it expects sales of electrified vehicles to double by 2021.
Yet the company has so far taken a cautious approach to fully electric cars, instead focusing on plug-in hybrids.
David Bailey, a professor at the Birmingham Business School, said that BMW needs to accelerate its move into new technologies.
“[Krueger has] done a very good job in recent years, but BMW faces some very big challenges going ahead,” said Bailey. “They felt the needed to bring in somebody new given the scale of the challenge.”
BMW and Daimler, which compete hard in the luxury market, announced earlier this year that they would form a strategic partnership focused on highly-automated and autonomous driving.
The companies are also investing $1 billion in a new venture to develop services including ride-sharing and charging systems for electric cars.