Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world’s largest maker of luxury cars, appointed former Audi AG sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer to its management board, adding expertise from its nearest rival.
Schwarzenbauer, 53, will take over the responsibilities of Harald Krueger and oversee the Mini and Rolls-Royce car brands, BMW motorcycles and after-sales operations, the Munich-based manufacturer said in a statement today.
Krueger will remain on the management board and become BMW’s head of production as of April 1 as part of the changes. The current head of production, Frank-Peter Arndt, decided to leave the company for health reasons, BMW said.
BMW and Audi are battling for the global top spot in luxury car sales, with the BMW brand securing a 407-car lead in the first two months of 2013. Schwarzenbauer, Audi’s sales chief for more than four years, led the brand’s pursuit by raising its U.S. presence, increasing sales in China and gaining market share in Europe.
Schwarzenbauer was passed over in a broader management revamp by Audi’s parent company Volkswagen AG and left the company in August. Audi has vowed to overtake BMW in sales by the end of the decade. Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz is pursuing the same goal.
Schwarzenbauer started his career at BMW in 1984 and left after 10 years to join Porsche AG. He led the sports-car maker’s North American business from 2003 until moving to Audi in 2008.