He will be succeeded by Chris Brownridge, currently CEO of BMW UK.
In an era where the automotive industry’s giants and legends constantly shift and evolve, few changes come as momentous as the retirement of Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Having helmed the company since 2010, Torsten has stood as the marque’s longest-serving CEO since the iconic Claude Johnson, who connected the destinies of Charles Rolls and Henry Royce in 1904.
Under Torsten’s stewardship, Rolls-Royce transformed. It transcended being a luxury car manufacturer alone and became an aspirational name and cultural force internationally, celebrated for its unrivaled motor cars, unparalleled bespoke capabilities, and a keen understanding of its global clientele’s distinct tastes and desires. This evolution wasn’t just in identity but also in numbers. Sales ballooned from around 1,000 motor cars in 2009 to a staggering 6,000-plus in 2022. This growth was coupled with the personalization of each car, reflecting the specific desires and artistry of the clients commissioning them.
Beyond just numbers, Torsten’s era as CEO saw Rolls-Royce break new grounds. The brand ventured into producing its most historic one-of-one motor cars, collaborating with global leaders in art, fashion, and luxury. This embrace of bespoke craftsmanship reached its zenith with the reinvigorated Coachbuild department, giving birth to marvels like the latest Droptail.
The variety in the marque’s portfolio also expanded under Torsten. From having just the Phantom and Ghost at the start of his tenure, Rolls-Royce introduced the Wraith, Dawn, and the groundbreaking Cullinan, its first SUV. However, perhaps the most future-forward initiative was the announcement of the Spectre, heralding Rolls-Royce’s transition into the electric domain. By the close of 2030, the brand aims to be fully electric, a visionary path set in motion by Torsten.
In more than just production, Torsten redefined luxury’s very essence. Under his watch, Rolls-Royce solidified its place in the reimagined luxury landscape of the past decade. Be it the physical presence through Private Office boutiques or the virtual experience via the Whispers app, Torsten ensured that Rolls-Royce maintained a unique connection with its clientele. The success was evident. Not only did the brand’s contribution to the UK economy exceed half a billion pounds annually, but the team at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood also swelled from around 300 to over 2,500, representing over 50 nationalities.
As Torsten departs, the mantle passes to Chris Brownridge, who steps into this role from his position as the CEO of BMW UK. With nearly 30 years at the BMW Group and a wealth of experience in sales and marketing, Chris is poised to take forward the legacy and vision set by Torsten, guiding Rolls-Royce into its electric future and further solidifying its place in the pantheon of luxury. As the baton passes in this iconic brand’s journey, the automotive world anticipates the next chapter in Rolls-Royce’s illustrious saga.