MINI Roadster Concept – Click above for a high-res image gallery

Mini, perhaps more than any other automotive brand in the world, is defined by the style of its vehicles. Sure, Minis are decent performers and score pretty well on the fun-to-drive quotient, but the initial attraction of the brand is often due to the brand's excellent execution of "the look."

And, beside Alec Issigonis, the designer behind the iconic original Mini, this successful design language can be most directly attributed to Gert Volker Hildebrand, who up until now served as the head of the Mini Design Studio. That means Hildebrand is responsible for the reborn Cooper from 2001 and its siblings, the Convertible, Clubman and Countryman. He also oversaw the designs of the Mini Coupe and Roadster concepts from 2009, which are now nearing production.

A tough act to follow, no? Certainly, but it would seem the mantle will be ably handled by Hildebrand's replacement, Anders Warming, who currently serves as head of Exterior Design, BMW Automobiles. Warming is attributed with recently updated models from BMW that include the Z4, 5 Series and, most recently, the 6 Series Concept Coupe.

Warming, we wish you the best of luck. A full press release announcing the transition can be found after the break.

[Source: BMW]
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Changeover at MINI Design. Gert Volker Hildebrand hands over the running of the MINI Design team to Anders Warming at the end of the year.

Munich . After 10 successful years at MINI Design, Gert Volker Hildebrand is handing over the running of the MINI Design studio to Anders Warming at the end of 2010. Gert Hildebrand will be leaving the company on 31.12.2010.

Gert Volker Hildebrand (57) has been responsible for the complete design development of the MINI brand since January 2001 and, with his design team, has shaped the development of the MINI brand portfolio. Over the last 10 years, the head of the MINI Design studio has provided the impetus for countless MINI vehicle concepts and for the entire design development. Alongside the further development of the third generation of the classic MINI, the MINI Cabrio and MINI Clubman were also created under his leadership. This year, Gert Hildebrand and his team added a real 4-door version to the MINI brand: the MINI Countryman, launched in September.

The MINI Coupé and MINI Roadster concepts presented in 2009, which will be appearing on the market in 2011 and 2012, were also created in the MINI Design studio under his guidance. Apart from designing cars, Gert Volker Hildebrand has also devoted himself to encouraging young designers and to talking about design in institutions and to the public.

Anders Warming, head of Exterior Design, BMW Automobiles, started working for DesignworksUSA in California in 1997. Following this, the 38-year-old Dane was employed in various positions as an automobile designer before coming to Munich in 2005 as Team Leader, Advanced Design, BMW Group. In 2007, he took over as head of Exterior Design, BMW Automobiles. Under his leadership, the BMW Z4, BMW 5 Series and the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé, presented at the Paris Auto Show, were created.

"I would like to wish Gert Hildebrand all the best for the future and thank him for working with us so well and so successfully", says Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. "Anders Warming has the expertise, the necessary experience and the intuition to take the MINI brand, with the support of the entire MINI Design team, into a ever more successful future."

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