BMW finally announced that Oliver Heilmer will be taking over the role of Head of Design at Mini, nearly a year after former design boss Anders Warming left the post to join Borgward Group. He starts his new role September 1, 2017.
Heilmer, a longtime BMW design veteran, was only appointed to President of BMW Group Designworks last August, having previously served as interior design director for BMW Automobiles from 2013 to 2016. He has held a number of interior design and creative designer positions within BMW since graduating from Pforzheim University in 2000.
“I am confident that the MINI design team under Oliver Heilmer will implement this vision of the brand in future vehicle models and win over Mini customers,” head of BMW Group Design, Adrian van Hooydonk, said of Heilmer’s appointment.
Mini exterior design director Christopher Wiel presents the Mini Vision Next 100 concept
Though promoting from within the organization makes perfect sense, I had always thought that Christopher Weil would have made the ideal candidate to succeed Warming. Unfortunately, it seems that there were political reasons for not appointing Weil — or his interior design counterpart Oliver Sieghart — to the top job.
Weil will remain in his current role as exterior design director, while Christian Bauer will replace current interior design director Oliver Sieghart from June 1, 2017. Kerstin Schmeding will also continue to head color and material design for the Mini brand.
Heilmer, just 42 years of age, is far better suited than the rumored return of former McLaren head of design Frank Stephenson to take over the Mini design director role — an unsubstantiated rumor that was initially published in Auto Motor Und Sport and subsequently republished by a number of titles.
As van Hooydonk notes: “Heilmer combines continuity with the freshness and vision Mini stands for.”
With the previous announcement of former Skoda head of design Jozef Kabaň taking over Karim Habib’s previous position as head of design BMW Automobiles, all the design director roles within the BMW Group’s varied brands are now occupied once again.