MUNICH - Three BMW management board members resigned after the company dumped the troubled Rover Group.
BMW sold Rover Cars and MG to a London-based venture capital group called Alchemy Partners. Ford Motor Co. bought Land Rover.
The three departed members were each named to the board on February 5, 1999, the meeting at which former Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder was dismissed and second-in-command Wolfgang Reitzle resigned.
Gone from the board are:
Carl-Peter Forster, 45, BMW production chief and one-time heir apparent to BMW Chairman Joachim Milberg
Wolfgang Ziebart, 50, who was in charge of research and development
Henrich Heitmann, 58, the company's marketing chief.
Sources say the three were fired, but BMW officials declined comment, and Chairman Joachim Milberg, 57, failed to even mention them in a Friday, March 17 press conference here.
Said one former BMW official: 'When you look at who has left the top levels of this company in the past five or six years, there has been a big loss.
'There is not the competence or the personnel BMW needs in this situation. It is not a very good story.'
Norbert Reithofer, 44, replaced Forster, and Burkhard Goschel, 56, replaced Ziebart on the management board.
Reithofer was previously president of BMW Manufacturing Corp. in the USA, a job he had held since 1997. He was instrumental in putting the X5 sport-utility into production at BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina plant.
From 1994 to1997 he was technical director at BMW South Africa. Reithofer joined BMW in 1987 as Director of Maintenance Planning.
Goeschel was named BMW's Director of Overall Vehicle Development last year. From 1993 to 1999 he was Director of Special Model Series.
In that job Goeschel was responsible for the two products built at the Spartanburg plant.
He was project manager on the Spartanburg-built Z3 roadster from 1992 to 1993 and before that spent three years as Director of Motorcycle Development. He joined BMW in 1978 in the engine development department.