BMW AG has appointed Sebastian Mackensen to lead sales at its Mini brand, three people privy with the matter disclosed to Bloomberg News. The sources said BMW has yet to announce the hiring of Mackensen, who was recently a manager for Audi AG’s sales in North and South America. The sources added that Mackensen will report to Jochen Goller, who was recently named by BMW to replace Kay Segler as head of the Mini brand.
While a spokesman for BMW refused to comment on Mackensen’s hiring, a spokesperson for Audi confirmed that he “left the company at his own request." Audi spokesman Moritz Drechsel disclosed that Martin Sander, head of Audi in the United Kingdom, will replace Mackensen.
Mackensen is the latest senior manager who BMW pirated from other carmakers as it bid to become the best-selling luxury auto company in world. The BMW brand so far has sold over 1.05 million luxury cars around the world, leading by 21,100 units over Audi
BMW had Audi’s former sales chief Peter Schwarzenbauer join its management board in April. At least six senior managers have departed from Audi in the wake of a management restructuring set off by parent Volkswagen AG.
According to Stefan Bratzel, director of the Center of Automotive Management at the University of Applied Sciences, the personnel changes at Audi might be “an expression of a certain amount of dissatisfaction and unease” at the carmaker, caused by the “increasingly stiff technological competition” in the luxury segment, in which BMW is leading against Audi.
Audi’s earnings is crucial to the VW’s goal of surpassing Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors as the largest carmaker in the world by 2018, as the luxury unit accounts for a large part of its profits. VW plans for Audi to overtake BMW in sales by 2020.