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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.


Beachcomber Offers Clues to Mini’s Future

BMW brand intends to move a bit bigger, add more models.

by on Jan.12, 2010

The Mini Beachcomber concept and Mini's U.S. boss, Jim McDowell.

There’s more than a faint resemblance between the new Mini Beachcomber concept vehicle and a classic dune buggy.

The show car is missing a roof and the removable doors are little more than frames.  So, it takes a little imagination to recognize that Beachcomber is the starting point upon which a variety of future products could be built by the British brand, says Jim McDowell, head of Mini’s U.S. subsidiary.

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“You can assume Beachcomber has a lot in common with the crossover we have coming,” suggests McDowell, during a conversation on the automaker’s stand at the 2010 North American International Auto Show.  And, he adds, “even more things” could follow, sharing the new platform, “a lot of fun products you could make.”