Rolls-Royce announces Torsten Mueller as new CEO

Outgoing Rolls-Royce CEO Tom Purves (left) and incoming CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös (right) – Click above for high-res images

Back on July 1st of 2008, Tom Purves became Rolls-Royce's new CEO. At the time, we remarked that the move was interesting due to parent company BMW's mandatory retirement age of 60, which Purves was just about to turn when he got the top spot at R-R. Not surprisingly, then, the automaker has announced a new commander-in-chief, Torsten Mueller.

Mueller is a longtime member of the BMW Group's senior management, having worked for the German automaker for the last 20 years. Most recently, Mueller had been running BMW global product management, though his most significant contribution to the company may be his role in helping the revived Mini brand get off the ground back in 2000.

Mueller will assume the role of Rolls-Royce CEO at the end of March 2010, which is also the time when Tom Purves will retire after 25 years service with the BMW Group.

[Source: Rolls-Royce]

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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has today announced that Torsten Mueller will join the company as its Chief Executive Officer. Mueller will assume the role at the end of March 2010 from Tom Purves, who will retire after 25 years service with the BMW Group.

During his more than 20 years with the Group, Mueller has held a number of management positions in the Sales and Marketing Division and was instrumental in brand and product management for MINI between 2000 and 2003. He successfully re-launched the MINI brand and internationally re-established this quintessentially British marque as the first premium small car brand. In 2004 he assumed responsibility for central marketing and brand management at BMW. Mueller has been running BMW global product management since April 2008, as well as parts of its after-sales business.

Mueller will continue to report to Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Group Sales and Marketing and also Chairman of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Ian Robertson said, "Torsten has many years of solid experience in the fields of brand and product management as well as marketing. He is the perfect candidate to lead Rolls-Royce Motor Cars into a period of expansion – having not only a successful track record as a manager, but also a feel for the unique attributes of a traditional brand."

Robertson also took the opportunity to thank Tom Purves: "Tom's breadth of experience and successful track record over many years with the Group have proven extremely valuable to Rolls-Royce as the company moved through an important stage of its development. He has successfully overseen the launch of our new Ghost model series and hands over the helm of a company in excellent shape for the future. I wish him the very best for a well-deserved retirement."

Purves said, "It has been a privilege and an honour to lead Rolls-Royce, particularly at this exciting point in the company's history. I have always felt a special connection with Rolls-Royce, having started my career in the car division and it is very special to be retiring having headed this great company. I have every confidence in the future success of the company in the hands of its new CEO."

Purves succeeded Robertson as CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in July 2008. His previous posts included more than nine years as President of BMW North America, LLC and head of the sales region there, where he successfully managed BMW Group activities throughout North and South America. Under his tenure sales and market share more than doubled. He began his career in the automotive industry in 1966 as an apprentice engineer at Rolls-Royce in Crewe before joining BMW Group in 1985.

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