US BMW boss moves over to Rolls-Royce

BMW’s US boss Tom Purves has been appointed chief executive of Rolls-Royce as part of a major shake-up at the German automotive group.

Purves, who takes up his new role on July 1, replaces Ian Robertson, who has been handed the top sales and marketing role at BMW Group. Robertson becomes the first Briton to join BMW’s board.

Purves, who started his career at Rolls-Royce, will have overall responsibility for the global business and will oversee the 2010 launch of the new RR4 “Baby Rolls”. Group sales and marketing director Graeme Grieve will report directly to Purves.

The changes mean an almost immediate promotion for former BMW UK chief Jim O’Donnell, who has only just joined BMW North America as president and chief operating officer (, February 11). He replaces Purves as chairman and chief executive of the marque in the US.

Robertson, who has already started as head of sales and marketing for BMW Group, takes over from Stefan Krause, who has joined Deutsche Bank as chief financial officer.

Krause only held the sales and marketing position for six months. He was previously BMW’s finance director, but swapped jobs with Michael Ganal in autumn last year (, October 4, 2007). At the time, a BMW spokesman said job swaps were not unusual at the company and were “one of the keys to our success”.

In February, BMW promoted Jan-Christiaan Koenders to the new role of vice-president of brand management for the BMW marque. Koenders, who also heads a new group-wide marketing services division, will now report to Robertson.

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