BMW NA head O'Donnell to retire in October, Willisch to take over

Jim O'Donnell, who has helmed the BMW's North American operations since 2008, is planning to retire later this year. He will hand over his reins to seasoned executive Ludwig Willisch. O'Donnell has helped raise sales output in his many years in control, and BMW is currently ahead of Mercedes-Benz year-to-date while on pace to pass Lexus for the first time since 1997.

Willisch is certainly no stranger to the brand himself, having started his BMW career by running the sales office in Germany. He later added more sales locations under his belt before taking on sales operations for all of Europe and Japan. Now, Ludwig Willisch will take over as CEO of BMW North America on October 1st of 2011.

Our guess would be that Jim O'Donnell will take over his local golf course and the backyard grille as he moves into the comfortable position of well-earned retirement.

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