BMW UK chief moves to South African role

BMW has moved its UK marketing director Phil Horton to its South African operations where he will take the role of sales and marketing director.

Horton, who has been at BMW for seven years, is being replaced in July by Dr Uwe Ellinghaus, who is moving across from the marketing and brand management function at BMW’s Munich head office.

BMW poached Horton in 1997 from Renault, where he was UK marketing director. He replaced Martin Runnacles, who has since become global marketing director for Ford-owned rival Jaguar. Horton’s tenure dates back to before the controversial disposal of British brand Rover for &£10 in 2000.

South Africa is an important market for BMW and one of seven countries worldwide in which the Bavarian car company manufactures its cars. In 2000, BMW brought Jim O’Donnell, sales and marketing director for South Africa, back to the UK to become managing director.

BMW’s advertising has been held by WCRS since 1980, when it was the agency’s founding client. It uses Vizeum for its media buying and planning account.

Horton leaves BMW in an important year for the manufacturer in the UK as it launches two new models. The recently launched X3, a compact 4×4, will be joined later in the year by the 1 series, which sees BMW compete in the Golf sector for the first time.

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