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Eberhard von Kuenheim

Eberhard von Kuenheim
Born (1928-10-02) October 2, 1928 (age 87)
23x15px Juditten, East Prussia, Germany
Nationality German
Occupation CEO, BMW
(1970 - 1993)
Known for being the Chairman of the Executive Board of BMW, 1970–1993
Predecessor Gerhard Wilcke
Successor Bernd Pischetsrieder
Children Hendrik von Kuenheim, general director of BMW Motorrad[1]

Dr.-Ing. E.h. Eberhard von Kuenheim (born 2 October 1928) is a German industrial manager. He was, between 1970[2] and 1993, Chairman of the executive board (effectively CEO) of the BMW Group.


Kuenheim was born in Juditten (Polish: Judyty) near Bartenstein, (East Prussia). His father died of a riding accident in 1935,[3][4] his mother died in a Soviet NKVD camp after World War II[3][5]

Kuenheim fled the advancing Red Army in early 1945 and was evacuated via Pillau to Western Germany in March 1945 throughout the Operation Hannibal.[3]

He studied mechanical engineering until 1954 at the Technical University of Stuttgart[6] and joined the Quandt Group, BMW's largest shareholder since 1959, in 1965.[3]

On 1 January 1970, Kuenheim became the CEO of the BMW Group. When Kuenheim became CEO, BMW had 23,000 employees; when he left the post in 1993, the number had risen to 71,000.[7] Kuenheim "transformed BMW from a small, unfocused manufacturer of cars and motorcycles into a world performance luxury icon"[8]

After Bernd Pischetsrieder followed him as CEO, Kuenheim guided BMW's supervisory board until 1999. Today Kuenheim is the head of BMW's Eberhard-von-Kuenheim-Foundation. He is also an Honorary Senator of the Technical University of Munich, which named a building at the mechanical engineering faculty after him.


  1. Booth, David (2010-05-01). "Motorrad boss a true biker". The National (Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi Media). Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-02-16. Before his father, Eberhard von Kuenheim, became CEO in 1970, BMW was an odd little manufacturer best known for eccentric motorcycles and quirky bubble cars. 
  2. "E. von Kuenheim (BMW) "Growth through flexibility". An exclusive interview with Edouard Seidler". Autocar. 145 (nbr 4172): pages 114–115. 23 October 1976. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Bernd Ziesemer (2006). Pioniere der deutschen Wirtschaft (in German). ISBN 978-3-593-38121-3. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 

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