Ludwig Willisch (55), currently responsible for the BMW Group’s European sales region, will take over from Jim O’Donnell (61) as president of BMW of North America, effective October 1, 2011. Willisch holds a degree in economics and began his career with the BMW Group in 1996 as manager of the BMW branch in Düsseldorf. He gained further national and international sales experience as head of the local sales subsidiaries in Germany, Japan and Sweden. Prior to assuming his current position as head of European sales, Willisch was president of BMW M GmbH.
O’Donnell, who has managed the BMW Group’s North American sales since 2008, will be retiring. The BMW Group achieved a substantial increase in sales on the U.S. market in the first half of the year. A total of 143,974 vehicles (+18.1% year-on-year) were sold in the U.S. through June, making the region the BMW Group’s second-largest market in the first half of 2011. Last year, the company delivered 266,580 automobiles to U.S. customers—an increase of 10.1%.
A successor to Willisch for the BMW Group’s European sales region will be announced at a later date.