We knew that BMW chairman Helmut Panke would go "buh-bye" after his contract expires in 2007 due to BMW's policy to boot any leader over the age of 60, but we weren't sure who would take the helm. BMW has announced that the man for the job is Norbert Reithofer, who has been production manager since 2000. The 50 year-old German has been with BMW since 1987.

Thanks to a stint managing the company's Spartanburg, S.C. plant, Reithofer has some experience with BMW's U.S. operations and the American market, which is of importance to the company.

It has not been reported whether Panke will sit on the supervisory board after he turns over the top spot -- the board does not currently have a seat open.

[Source: Associated Press via the Houston Chronicle]