BMW appoints top marketer as managing director in UK

BMW has appointed a senior marketing executive at its South African office as UK managing director.

Jim O’Donnell, sales and marketing director of BMW in South Africa, will take up his post on June 1.

O’Donnell replaces Kevin Gaskell, who left this month to join Internet car site as chief executive for Europe (MW January 20).

Before moving to South Africa, O’Donnell was commercial manager at BMW.

He was replaced by Paul Willis, who is now a director of German car giant Volkswagen.

BMW marketing director Phil Horton will report to O’Donnell, who will have overall responsibility for the car brand’s sales and marketing.

O’Donnell returns to the UK at a difficult time for the car company.

BMW was initially concerned that public perceptions of its proposed sale of Rover to Alchemy – due to completed this week – would damage sales.

In the same month – March – that BMW announced the sale of Rover, its share of car sales (units) increased by nearly 15 per cent month on month, although this then slipped back to little more than two per cent year on year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers.

There is speculation that the Quandt family, which owns half of BMW, will sell the group once the sale of Rover and Land Rover has been completed.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here