BMW has announced that former Audi quattro boss Franciscus Van Meel will succeed Friedrich Nitschke as head of its M performance car division from January 1 next year.
The appointment of 48-year-old Van Meel at BMW M comes less than a year after he was controversially ousted from quattro following a reported clash with Audi’s research and development boss, Ulrich Hackenberg, over the development decisions taken with the all-electric R8 E-Tron and second-generation R8.
Since 1996 Van Meel has held various management positions in chassis development and the technical steering of vehicle projects at Audi before becoming managing director of quattro in 2012.
Nitschke, who is 59 and has headed the M division since 2011, will retire after 36 years with BMW. Since joining the company in 1978 he has held management positions in various company areas before taking over as director of development strategy, steering and testing.
From 2007 to 2011 he headed vehicle development at Mini. In 2011 he became chairman of the board of management of BMW M.