Continental AG has named former BMW product development chief Wolfgang Ziebart to run its crucial Automotive Systems group.
Continental Automotive Systems is leading the Hanover, Germany-based group's shift from tiremaker to systems and module supplier.
Ziebart will take over at Continental Automotive Systems in October. He was one of three BMW management board members ousted when the company dumped money-losing Rover group in the spring.
His background in electronics and product development made him a much sought-after executive. Sources say he received five job offers, including two from carmakers, before joining Continental.
'I'm very pleased to have someone of his ability,' said Continental AG Chairman Stephan Kessel. 'I don't know of another case of a board member from a carmaker taking over a supplier company.'
Ziebart was development chief on the hugely-successful BMW 3 series and a protege of former BMW No. 2 Wolfgang Reitzle.
He led the turnaround team sent to Rover in October, 1998 - delaying the Rover 75 launch by six months and ordering a long list of improvements.
Ziebart replaces Hans Albert Beller, who led Continental's drive into modules and systems in the mid-1990s. Beller will retire by year-end.