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Update: BMW’s Jack Pitney Killed In Farm Accident

Marketing exec and rising star dead at 47.

by on Aug.27, 2010

Jack Pitney, shown here with the new BMW 5-Series, was killed in a freak accident on his farm.

BMW executive Jack Pitney, considered one of the company’s rising stars, has been killed in a freak accident on his farm outside New York City.

A tractor the BMW executive was driving flipped while Pitney was trying to remove a tree stump, according to a police report.

Just 47, Pitney was given much of the credit for helping the German maker craft the successful U.S. launch of the Mini brand.  He was about to be reassigned from his post as BMW’s chief marketing officer to a regional post, raising questions about the direction his career was taking, but inside sources contend the move was meant to broaden Pitney’s skill set, and not as a demotion, as some initial reports had suggested.

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Indeed, the upcoming appointment as Eastern Regional Manager, set to go into effect on Sept. 1st, was precisely the sort of non-traditional move Pitney had been known to make during his brief but impactful career.


Key Managerial Changes Shaking Up BMW

Déjà vu all over again?

by on Jul.21, 2010

Former BMWNA Marketing Chief Jack Pitney will now take responsibility for the maker's eastern region.

A few years ago in a sweeping change in positions that surprised the auto industry, Jack Pitney, then head of the new Mini division, switched jobs with Jim McDowell, who was serving as the British marque’s vice president of marketing.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu, all over again.”

Mini’s parent, BMW, is making two new veep switches, one financial, as Wayne Orchowski, vice president of the Eastern Region, becomes VP of operations and COO of BMW Group Financial Services. That move might not have even made the radar, but the other switch is causing some seismic tremors in the marketing world and blogs as Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing for the BMW Brand (and the acknowledged, if not titled, CMO of BMW US) will assume the role of vice president of BMW’s Eastern Region.

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When a CMO moves from one company to another, retires or leaves the industry it’s usually not unexpected, but a move from the major staff position to a major line operation job is rare.  Except it’s Pitney’s career DNA.  How many remember when he moved from head of BMW public relations to lead the launch of Mini in the U.S. another line function. That too surprised industry pundits.