MUNICH -- BMW Group's design head Chris Bangle is quitting "to pursue his own design-related endeavors beyond the auto industry," the German carmaker said Tuesday.
Adrian van Hooydonk, head of design for BMW brand, will succeed Bangle with immediate effect, BMW said.
"Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group's brands. His contribution to the company's success has been decisive," said Klaus Draeger, BMW's development chief, in a statement.
America-born Bangle, 52, joined BMW in 1992 and modernized the conservative styling of the premium brand's cars. Bangle's distinctive themes of flame surfacing and pronounced trunk lids aroused strong opposition from many in the industry but the styling was a commercial success, helping BMW to overtake rival Mercedes-Benz as the global No. 1 premium brand by unit sales in 2006.