Two of Rover Cars’ top engineers quit this week, leaving the way clear for BMW to make dramatic changes to the way the two companies work together on design and manufacturing.
The resignation of design and engineering director Nick Stephenson and manufacturing director Paul Kirk leaves only Rover chairman Werner Samann and finance director Christian John von Freyend as Rover directors.
The recent exodus from the board is part of BMW’s drive to integrate Rover’s operations with its own to boost productivity. Former BMW chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder, who pursued a strategy of allowing Rover a lot of autonomy, resigned earlier this year.
Speaking to The Engineer from his home in Warwickshire, Stephenson said he was leaving `without bitterness to Rover or BMW’. He said his decision was `based on my role and the contribution I could make’ to the new structure. `It is not something thrust upon me by huge internal turmoil,’ he added.