Luxury car firm Rolls-Royce will have a British boss for the first time in 14 years, as veteran chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvos announced he will step down from the company’s helm at the end of next month.
He will be replaced by Chris Brownridge, current CEO of BMW UK, who will take up the role from 1 December.
The last British boss of Roll-Royce Motor Cars was Müller-Ötvos’s predecessor, Ian Purves, who left the Goodwood company in 2010.
Chris Brownridge, current boss of BMW UK, will become Rolls-Royce’s new chief executive from 1 December.
Müller-Ötvos, 63, is the brand’s longest-serving chief executive since Claude Johnson, the man who brought Charles Rolls and Henry Royce together in 1904 and headed the company from 1910 until his death in 1926.
The German described running Rolls-Royce for almost 14 years as “the greatest privilege and pleasure of my professional life.”
In an official statement issued by the British brand, he added: “Growing the company and its world-class people to the position they are in today, at the top of the luxury industry, has been an extraordinary adventure.”
“I am proud of the role that my exceptional team and I have played in contributing significantly to the UK economy and global recognition of Britain’s ability to produce the world’s best luxury products.”
On Thursday, veteran boss Torsten Müller-Ötvos announced his retirement on November 30. He is the longest serving person at the company since Claude Johnson, the man who brought Charles Rolls and Henry Royce together in 1904.
During his tenure, Müller-Ötvos oversaw the introduction of Rolls-Royce’s first SUV model, the Cullinan, pictured.
Müller-Ötvos also guided the brand into its early stages of electrification with the launch of the new Specter coupe this year, with first deliveries to customers taking place before the end of 2023.
During his tenure, Müller-Ötvos oversaw the introduction of Rolls-Royce’s first SUV model, the Cullinan, guided the brand into its early stages of electrification with the launch of the new Specter coupe, and expanded the business into new regions such as the Middle East. and China, and achieved a spectacular increase in sales.
Annual sales of Rolls-Royce cars have risen from around 1,000 units a year in 2009 to a record of more than 6,000 last quarter.
The company has attracted waves of new (younger) customers through its bespoke division, creating unique vehicles to the exacting specifications of well-served customers.
This has seen the average age of a Rolls-Royce buyer fall from 56 to 43 in that period, and today one in five customers is a celebrity.
Rolls-Royce also contributes more than £500 million a year to the UK economy and the expansion of its Goodwood facility in West Sussex has increased employment from 300 to more than 2,500 people in the region.
Müller-Ötvos’ replacement, Chris Brownridge, has been head of the British division of Rolls-Royce parent company BMW since July 2021.
Previously, he was sales director of BMW UK from January 2018 and regional director of Mini for the UK and Ireland.
He said he was “humbled and honoured” by his appointment effective December 1, which will put him at the helm of the company as it ramps up Specter production ahead of first deliveries to customers in the coming weeks.
“To be invited to lead this great British brand, at such a crucial time in its long and extraordinary history, is an extraordinary privilege,” he said.
‘I am lucky to follow Torsten as CEO. Thanks to his vision and ambition for the brand, Rolls-Royce is today in an exceptionally strong and confident position for the future.
“I am absolutely delighted to be part of the Rolls-Royce story and look forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities that await us all.”
Daily Mail motoring editor Ray Massey flew halfway around the world to California this summer to become one of the first to drive the £330,000 Specter electric limousine.
Specter is powered by a powerful 584 horsepower (430 kW) electric motor and battery configuration that propels the nearly 3-ton (2,890 kg) vehicle from 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds and up to a limited top speed. at 155mph.
Measuring almost 5.5 meters long and weighing almost three tonnes, the low-slung Specter is electrifying and has real presence on the road.
Oliver Zipse, CEO of the BMW Group, praised Müller-Ötvos’ outstanding leadership in the “crown jewel of the organization.”
He added that his “unwavering commitment, clear vision and exceptional ability to build a strong, focused team have helped make Rolls-Royce the world-class luxury brand it is today.”
And he concluded: “We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
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