|Jacob Harb (left) pictured with Oliver Walter of BMW at the LA Auto Show in 2012|
This is a bit surprising since I just talked with Jacob at the LA Auto Show a couple weeks ago where we discussed upcoming plans for BMW i. BMW hasn't announced who Harb's successor will be yet, but being close to BMW's e-mobility program I'd like to throw a couple names out there that they'll likely consider:
1) Jose Guerrero. Jose is the i3 Product Manager for North America. He knows as much about the i3 & i8 and anybody at BMW and is good in front of a camera, which is important for department heads who need to be available for interviews.
2) Joan Bowen. Joan is BMW's EV and i Brand Marketing Manager and has been in the BMW's EV program since 2011. She may be a long shot because her expertise is in marketing but I wouldn't rule her out.
3) Rob Healey. Rob is BMW's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Manager and was previously the technical coordinator for the MINI-E and ActiveE. Rob has been involved in BMW's e-mobility program since 2008 and knows the technical side of the business as well as anybody working for any EV manufacturer.
4) Don Smith. Don is the BMW i Electric Vehicle Operations and Strategy manager and has been working closely with Harb for a while now. Don may have the easiest transition into the position as anybody there because he has been working directly with Harb.
Honestly, I'd feel OK with any of the above mentioned people. I've had the opportunity to meet them all on many occasions and I know they are all very capable executives. I just hope BMW selects someone with extensive electric vehicle program experience. These cars are different, they require different strategies for marketing, sales and aftersales. It's too late in the game to start over with another top manager who doesn't have experience specific to electric cars. BMW needs a strong leader for BMW i and I really hope they choose wisely.
Once I get confirmation on the new (or interim) department head, I'll report it here.