Multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and sporting one of his trademark “lion” ties, Henrich Heitmann, chairman and CEO of BMW (US) Holding Corp., epitomizes the global executive. He joined the German luxury carmaker 12 years ago-not in
Now, Heitmann is on the move again. The 56 year-old executive arrived at BMW’s North American headquarters in
To be sure, BMW’s American operation is riding high right now. It led the $70 billion
Indeed, BMW’s top spot in the
To accomplish this, he is aiming for “a retail network that is second to none.” Not surprisingly, that’s the core of a revamping now underway at BMW’s 350
Just how successful the strategy will be with dealers and customers is not likely to be known for at least a year, say industry observers. Wesley Brown, an analyst with Nextrend, a
Meanwhile, Heitmann has other issues to contend with. Among the more worrisome is the growing number of previously leased BMWs that are showing up in second-hand car resale networks, stealing new business away from the automaker. About 60 percent of BMWs are leased, and while that isn’t as high as Jaguar’s 90 percent, “we’ve got to address the problem,” says Heitmann.
In a challenge of a different sort, Heitmann, despite his lofty title, does not have all
Heitmann is also responsible for
Perhaps due to his long experience in so many diverse countries and cultures, Heitmann is reluctant to set a specific overall strategy. He says he prefers a market-bymarket approach to his new job, which enables BMW to meet widely varying customer expectations, even within the
Chairman and CEO
Education: Law degree and doctorate of law from the Universities of Fribourg and
Management Style: “I focus on my mission: will it help to sell cars?”
Favorite book: “I like modern fairy tales, like Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien.”
Car: 1997 BMW 540 I, metallic black with onboard navigation system.
Leisure: Hunting for wild boar, deer, pheasant. “I’m a farmer’s boy. I like riding on my 1720 farm near Wurtzburg.”