Form Trends has learned that Karim Habib, Head of Design for BMW Automobiles, has resigned from the company. The move is certain to deal a severe blow to the BMW Group organization, which saw Benoit Jacob (former Head of BMW i) and Anders Warming (previously Head of Mini Design), leave their posts just as the BMW Group celebrated its 100th-anniversary last year.
Karim Habib is the latest designer to leave a top design role in the last ten months, signaling that there are clearly a lot of changes taking place within the organization. While Anders Warming joined revived German brand Borgward as VP of Design and Benoit Jacob is currently working for Chinese upstart Future Mobility, Habib has not yet divulged where he’ll be headed.
A Canadian designer born in Beirut, Lebanon, Karim Habib has been in charge of design at BMW Automobiles in Munich since 2012. He was promoted from his position as Head of BMW Exterior Design, a role he held since returning from a short two-year stint heading Mercedes-Benz’s Advanced Design in Stuttgart.
During his tenure as head of design for BMW Automobiles, the company ushered in a number of new typologies, which didn’t really fit in with the company’s mantra (read 2-Series van thing). This is surely no fault of his, as marketing tends to dictate what typologies are necessary for each segment.
Some of his more successful endeavors during his tenure as head of design at BMW include the BMW Next 100 and X2 (presented in Paris 2016) concepts and the BMW 2 and 4 Series production models. The X1, X4 and revised X6, X5 and X3 models were also created under his leadership, as were the G11 7 Series recently revealed G30 5 Series.
Habib also led the development of several Hommage vehicles presented at the company’s Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este — concepts such as the 2002 Hommage and the BMW 3.0 CSL Hommage. My favorite is still the Gran Lusso Coupe created in collaboration with former Pininfarina design boss Fabio Filippini.
Arguably the more successful designs of his career were done prior to taking over the helm. As exterior design director, Habib was responsible for the BMW X6 and X3 models as well as the gorgeous 6 Series Gran Coupe. And as head of BMW’s Advanced Design studio in Munich, he worked on the exterior of the BMW F01 7 Series as well as the Concept CS, a car that received high praise when presented at the 2007 Auto China show in Shanghai.
Besides his two-year stint at rival Mercedes, Habib is a BMW veteran. He joined the company in 1997, working for BMW Group Designworks in CA. A year later he moved to BMW’s HQ in Munich where he designed the interior of the E60 5 Series. By all accounts, he has grown within the company.
As of yet, it is still unclear as to what Karim Habib’s next move will be, and BMW has yet to release a formal statement announcing his departure or successor. We’ll be sure to let you know when we receive any further information.