Dr. Helmut Panke plans to step down as chairman and chief executive officer of Munich-based BMW AG. His in-house successor, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, will take over the leadership position September 1.
Panke, 59, has been with the BMW Group for 24 years. He has been a member of the board of management since 1996 and chairman of the board of management since May 2002.
Reithofer, 50, joined BMW in 1987. He currently is a member of the board of management with responsibility for Production. He has been a member of the board since 2000, and prior to that held various offices, including head of the Rosslyn plant in South Africa and head of the Spartanburg plant in the U.S.
In related news, BMW's Supervisory Board also appointed Frank-Peter Arndt and Dr. Klaus Draeger to the board of management.
Arndt, 50, joins the board of management September 1. He was appointed as Reithofer's successor with responsibility for Production. Draeger, 49, joins the board November 1 and will take over responsibility for Research, Development and Purchasing from the retiring Professor Dr. Burkhard Göschel, 60.
Göschel has been with BMW AG since 1978, playing an important role in motorcycle, engine and vehicle development.
The BMW Group is on track to achieve a record before tax profit of Euro 4 billion in 2006. Under Panke's watch as chairman, BMW expanded its workforce by almost 9,000 employees to 105,800 worldwide; boosted annual auto sales from approximately 1 million to 1.33 million units and expanded motorcycles sales from approximately 85,000 to 97,500 units.
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