He's Back! Kowaleski Joins BMW

April 28, 2008

Some things just fly under the radar.

We’ve been hearing a lot about BMW’s upcoming products, including the next-generation 7-Series, but we have to admit we were taken completely by surprise with news that Tom Kowaleski will resurface next week, taken over as head of public relations for the German automaker’s North American operations.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s spent the last 30 years in Detroit with a variety of manufacturers and PR agencies, most recently with a shop of his own, ActK2. But Kowaleski was perhaps best-known as the head of public relations, from 2004 – 2006, at General Motors. It was arguably the toughest time in the company’s near 100-year history, with many analysts and observers openly wondering whether GM would event survive.

Prior to his GM stint, Kowaleski was a long-time senior Chrysler – later DaimlerChrysler – public relations executive, and one of those responsible for that automaker’s often wacky PR stunts.

Kowaleski will continue operating ActK2 while at BMW.

The PR appointment follows several other job shifts at BMW. It had long been expected that Tom Purves, chief executive of BMW (US) Holding Corp., would be stepping down. But it seems he'll resurface, in July, as global chief of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited, the German maker's ultra-luxurious British brand.

His successor, at BMW(US) is Jim O'Donnell, a 17-year BMW veteran, and former director of British operations.

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