Mini’s design boss, Gert Hildebrand, is to leave the company at the end of the year, parent firm BMW has announced.
Hildebrand, 57, has led the Mini design studio in Munich since January 2001, and his overseen the Mini hatchback, the Clubman, the Cabrio and the Countryman. Two more of his projects - the Coupe and the Roadster - are scheduled to reach production in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
BMW has not announced a reason for Hildebrand’s departure, beyond confirming that he “will be leaving the company on 31 December”. Mini sources say that Hildebrand is likely to enter “semi-retirement”.
However, the BMW group’s design chief Adrian van Hooydonk has been noticeably more vocal on Mini’s styling direction in recent months, perhaps indicating a shift in the brand’s styling leadership.
Hildebrand will be replaced by Anders Warming, a 38-year-old Dane who is currently in charge of exterior design for BMW. His CV includes the BMW Z4, the BMW 5-series and the 6-series coupe concept that was shown at the Paris show in the autumn.
“I would like to wish Gert Hildebrand all the best for the future and thank him for working with us so well and so successfully,” said van Hooydonk. “Anders Warming has the expertise, the necessary experience and the intuition to take the Mini brand, with the support of the entire Mini design team, into an ever more successful future.”