Torsten Müller-Ötvös retires as CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on November 30, 2023
Chris Brownridge, currently CEO of BMW UK, to take over the British marque
Torsten Müller-Ötvös will retire as Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on November 30, 2023. He will be succeeded by Chris Brownridge, currently Chief Executive Officer of BMW UK.
Müller-Ötvös joined Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2010, making him the company’s longest-serving CEO since Claude Johnson brought Charles Rolls and Henry Royce together in 1904.
In a statement issued on October 5, 2023, Torsten said: “Leading Rolls-Royce for almost 14 years has been the most incredible privilege and pleasure of my professional life. To have grown the company and its world-class people to the position it is in today, at the pinnacle of the luxury industry, has been a remarkable adventure.
“I am proud of the role my exceptional team and I have played in contributing significantly to the UK economy and the global recognition of Britain’s ability to produce the world’s best luxury products.”
Oliver Zipse, BMW Group Chief Executive, said: “Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a jewel in the crown of our organisation. Torsten’s outstanding leadership, unswerving commitment, clear vision and exceptional ability to build a strong, focused team have helped make Rolls-Royce the world-class luxury brand it is today. We wish him the very best for his future endeavours.”
Under Müller-Ötvös’s leadership, Rolls-Royce has been transformed from an automotive manufacturer to an actual luxury house, revered worldwide for its exquisite cars, unparalleled bespoke capabilities and deep understanding of the needs, tastes and desires of its international clients.
That transformation has translated into a remarkable commercial success. Annual sales have surged from around 1,000 cars in 2009 to over 6,000 in 2022.
When Müller-Ötvös took up his appointment, Rolls-Royce produced just two models, the Phantom and Ghost. Under his leadership, the Rolls-Royce Wraith and Dawn were introduced, as was the Rolls‑Royce Cullinan, the first SUV in the marque’s history.
This year sees the introduction of Spectre, the world’s first ultra-luxury electric super coupé, which will begin the marque’s transition to a fully electric product portfolio by the end of 2030. Müller-Ötvös also saw Black Badge, the edgier, more subversive Rolls-Royce alter-ego, conceived and launched – a bold venture that has significantly broadened the brand’s appeal.
The success of Rolls-Royce under Müller-Ötvös’s leadership is such that the company now contributes over half a billion pounds to the UK economy every year. It is also one of the largest employers in West Sussex: the exceptional team working at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood has grown from around 300 to more than 2,500, with over 50 nationalities represented.
Chris Brownridge joins Rolls-Royce Motor Cars from his current role as Chief Executive Officer of BMW UK, a position he has held since 2021.
Brownridge is an actual sales and marketing expert, having spent almost 30 years with the BMW Group, starting as a graduate in 1995. Before his current position as CEO, he has been a member of the UK Board in various roles since 2011, including Sales Director BMW UK, BMW UK Marketing and MINI Regional Director for the UK and Ireland.
Brownridge said: “I’m honoured and humbled by my new appointment. To be invited to lead this great British brand at such a pivotal moment in its long and remarkable story is an extraordinary privilege. Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s most recognised, desirable and influential brands, and I’m keenly aware of the enormous affection and esteem in which it’s held.
“It’s a tribute to its magnificent products, the close relationships it maintains with its clients and, above all, to the exceptional team I’m about to join. I’m also conscious of the incredible heritage of which we are the proud custodians and that everything we do builds on and adds to that unique legacy.
“I’m fortunate to be following Torsten as CEO. Through his vision and ambition for the brand over 14 years, Rolls-Royce is in a powerful position and full of confidence for the future. I’m delighted to be part of the Rolls‑Royce story and look forward to embracing the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Brownridge concluded.
Featured image: Torsten Müller-Ötvös has led Rolls-Royce Motor Cars since 2010. Image: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars