BMW UK head leaves for top American role

BMW UK managing director Jim O’Donnell is stepping down after eight years to become president and chief operating officer of BMW North America. He will be replaced by president of BMW Portugal Klaus Kibsgaard (pictured) from March 1.

O’Donnell – one of the car industry’s most respected executives – took over as managing director of BMW UK in 2000, having previously been the company’s sales and marketing director in South Africa.

During that time, UK sales have almost doubled from 67,676 in 2000 to 121,575 last year. He was also involved in the relaunch of the Mini brand in 2001. The marque sold 47,661 cars in the UK last year.

Kibsgaard joined BMW in 2002 and has been president of the company in Portugal since 2003. He has worked for General Motors in Germany, France, Turkey and Denmark.

O’Donnell joins up with another former BMW UK managing director, Tom Purves, who is chairman and chief executive of BMW US. O’Donnell says he is “optimistic” Kibsgaard will take BMW to “new highs” in the UK.

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