BMW CEO Zipse likely to extend contract

According to a media report, BMW wants to extend the contract with CEO Oliver Zipse at a supervisory board meeting next week ahead of schedule by another two years until summer 2026. It remains to be seen what will happen after that - but there is already speculation about potential successors.

Image: BMW

The Handelsblatt reports that the BMW CEO’s contract will be extended, citing company circles. According to the report, not only the major shareholders from the Quandt family want to continue working with Oliver Zipse, employee representatives on the supervisory board also support the decision. If the information proves correct, Zipse would continue to be responsible for the biggest project of the coming years at the head of BMW – the launch of the new electric cars of the “New Class” from 2025.

BMW gave a preview of the first model of the upcoming platform at the IAA Mobility in early September – the Vision Neue Klasse study. With 800-volt technology and the switch to round cells, the New Class brings some technical changes but also intends to set standards in digitalisation and circular economy. “With the New Class, we will bring mobility for the next decade to the road as early as 2025 – and lead BMW into a new era,” Zipse said at the premiere. The Handelsblatt also points to the major task of managing the investments in development, purchasing and production from current business. However, BMW is earning more than ever with its current multi-energy strategy without a clear end to combustion engines.

According to the report, BMW is already preparing for a time after Zipse. The “planning games regarding the successor” have already begun. The article mentions three names: Chief Production Officer Milan Nedeljkovic, Chief Purchasing Officer Joachim Post and Chief Human Resources Officer Ilka Horstmeier. No names of external candidates have been thrown in the ring.


If the BMW supervisory board stays true to its line, Nedeljkovic would have the best chances. Zipse, his predecessor Harald Krüger and the latter’s predecessor Norbert Reithofer were responsible for production before being appointed CEO. However, the time could also be ripe for a woman at the head of BMW in 2026.

Suppose Zipse’s contract is extended by two years. In that case, BMW is already deviating from its usual line on one important issue: the carmaker has an internal age limit of 60 years for board members, and after 60, people receive only one-year contracts. Zipse will turn 60 on 7 February 2024 – so if his contract ends in the summer of 2026, he would be 62.


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