Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO and the longest-serving since Claude Johnson — the man who introduced Charles Rolls to Henry Royce together in 1904 — today announced his retirement from the British marque. Chris Brownridge, the CEO of BMW UK, will take over the reins on 1 December 2023.
During his 14-year tenure, Torsten Müller-Ötvös has steered Rolls-Royce from an ultra premium car manufacturer to one of the most seminal names in luxury; a true luxury house renowned not only for its exquisite cars emblematic of the very pinnacle of automotive excellence, but also its growing bespoke offerings that find their ultimate expression in the company’s Coachbuild department.
Rolls-Royce has since produced extraordinarily handcrafted singular creations, including several co-created in collaboration with the world’s leading artists, fashion designers and luxury houses.
“To have grown the company and its world-class people to the position it is in today, at the pinnacle of the luxury industry, has been a remarkable adventure,” says Müller-Ötvös.
When Torsten took up his appointment in 2010, Rolls-Royce produced just two models: Phantom and Ghost. Under his stewardship, Rolls-Royce Wraith and Dawn were introduced, as was the first SUV in Rolls-Royce history, the Cullinan.
The company made history again this year when it debuted the first all-electric Rolls-Royce in the marque’s 120-year history, Spectre, which paves the way for the carmaker’s transition to a fully electric line-up by 2030.
The rejuvenation, spearheaded by Müller-Ötvös has translated into a remarkable commercial success, with annual sales surging six-fold during his tenure, and contributing a staggering half a billion pounds to the UK economy every year.
A fitting handover
As one of the largest employers in West Sussex, the Rolls-Royce workforce at its Goodwood production facility has also grown from 300 to more than 2,500 with over 50 nationalities represented during this time.
“I am proud of the role my exceptional team and I have played in contributing significantly to the UK economy and to the global recognition of Britain’s ability to produce the world’s best luxury products. I believe the company is ready to embrace the future with all its opportunities,” says Müller-Ötvös.
On 1 December, he will hand over the reins to Chris Brownridge, current CEO of BMW UK, who has been with the BMW Group, which owns Rolls-Royce, for almost 30 years.
“To be invited to lead this great British brand, at such a pivotal moment in its long and remarkable story, is an extraordinary privilege,” says Brownridge.
“Rolls-Royce is one of the world’s most recognised, desirable and influential brands, and I’m keenly aware of the enormous affection and esteem in which it’s held.”
“It’s a tribute to its magnificent products, the close relationships it maintains with its clients and, above all, to the exceptional team I’m about to join. I’m also conscious of the incredible heritage of which we are the proud custodians, and that everything we do builds on and adds to that unique legacy.”