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Chris Bangle resigns as BMW Group Design Director

Tue, 03 Feb 2009

BMW today announced that Chris Bangle is resigning from his position as Head of Design for the BMW Group. Bangle will be handing over his post to current Head of BMW Automobile Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, when he leaves the company to pursue his own design-related endeavors outside the auto industry. Bangle has worked closely with van Hooydonk at BMW Group Design Development for nearly 17 years.

Born in the USA, Chris Bangle has been Head of BMW Group Design Development since October 1992. Having spent his formative years in Wausau, Wisconsin, he studied at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena before launching his automotive design career at Opel's interior design studio in Rüsselsheim, Germany. In 1985 he joined Fiat, rising to the rank of Director of Design at Fiat Centro Stile in 1992. He left the Italian automaker to go to Munich shortly after.

Over the years numerous (and often controversial) concept and production vehicle designs have been developed under Bangle's leadership. As well as the 3, 5 and 7 Series, he and his teams were responsible for the design of a range of other BMW models, including the Z3, Z4 and Z8 sports cars, the X3, X5 and X6 SUVs, and the new 6 Series and 1 Series model ranges. Other developments under Bangle's auspices include the new Mini range, Rolls-Royce models and a number of innovative motorcycle concepts. During his tenure, Bangle was also instrumental in building the company's consultancy subsidiary, DesignworksUSA, into a global design agency for leading international brands operating within a wide variety of industries.

Throughout his career with the BMW Group, Bangle's right-hand man has been Adrian van Hooydonk, who succeeds him in the top job. He described van Hooydonk as "truly a top professional in our business", adding, "I am sure that the many strong design strategies he has helped create for the BMW Group will continue to develop and evolve".

Speaking on behalf of BMW AG, Board Member for Development, Dr Klaus Draeger, said that he "is looking forward to working with van Hooydonk as Head of BMW Group Design - a man who shares Bangle's fascination for technology and aesthetics, tradition and innovation". Dr Draeger confirmed that van Hooydonk would continue to build on a design philosophy that extends across the BMW Group's entire brand portfolio.

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By Eric Gallina