BMW CEO Harald Krueger to step down following disappointing earnings

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BMW CEO Harald Krueger will step down amid weakening profits at the German luxury automaker.

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Krueger, 53, will not seek a contract extension, which expires at the end of April 2020, BMW said Friday. The board of directors will meet to discuss the issue of a successor on July 18 and Kruger will remain at his post until a decision is made. Reuters reported that Oliver Zipse, a board member, is among those being considered to be the automaker’s next CEO.

Under Krueger’s leadership, the automaker lost the “best-selling luxury carmaking brand” title in 2016 to Mercedes-Benz, Reuters reported.

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The automaker lost money on its automotive business in the first quarter of the year after the company was hit by a $1.6 billion charge for an anti-trust case and by higher upfront costs for new technology. Only the financial services and motorcycle divisions kept the group as a whole in profit.

BMW CEO Harald Krueger will step down from his job. (AP)

The Munich-based company is facing pressure from the car industry to develop electric vehicles to meet tighter emissions regulations in Europe and China which comes at high costs. The company was also hit by increased tariffs on vehicles exported to China from its plant in Spartanburg, S.C., due to the trade war between the U.S. and China.

The company decreased its profit outlook for the year and a plan to cut some 12 billion euros in costs by the end of 2022.

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A company news release quoted Krueger, who became CEO in 2015, as saying he would like to pursue "new professional endeavors."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.