May 13, 2015 12:53 PM

Outgoing CEO of BMW warns that China is 'losing momentum'

The Associated Press

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer has turned over the post to successor Harald Krueger, leaving with a warning that the Chinese market that has boosted the company's profits may be slowing down.

Reithofer told a shareholder meeting Wednesday that the Chinese economy was "losing momentum" after years of strong growth but said the company had plans to cope with the slowdown.

The meeting in Munich marked Reithofer's planned handoff to Krueger, who faces the task of keeping BMW AG on top as the world's No. 1 seller of luxury cars ahead of German rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The succession was announced in December as a move representing generational change at the company. Krueger, 49, has been production chief and also worked as a project engineer for plant assembly at the company's factory near Spartanburg, South Carolina, in the 1990s.

Reithofer, CEO since 2006, was elected to serve as chairman of the board of directors, replacing Joachim Milberg.

The company made the move despite criticism from some shareholder representatives that immediately appointing the CEO as board chairman undermined the principle of independent evaluation of management's work by the board. But the move went ahead with support from the Quandt family, whose members hold 47 percent of the stock.

Milberg, another former CEO, stepped down after serving as board chair since 2004 and will play a leading role in the company's social responsibility and charitable activities.


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