Christopher Bangle, legendary head of BMW Group design, will hand the reigns over to Adrian van Hooydonk. He will leave the automotive industry to pursue design challenges elsewhere.

Here is some news that will be a shocker to the industry: Christopher Bangle has quit as head of design for BMW Group and plans to leave the auto industry altogether.

BMW has announced the news in a press release. Bangle says he will be pursuing other design challenges beyond automobiles.

Bangle's influence on BMW's recent history and his contributions to the premium car maker's success are difficult to overstate. Bangle, only 52, is a legend in automotive design and has been head of BMW Design Development since 1992.

He headed the design evolution of the BMW 3, 5 and 7 series from the 1990s into the 2000s, an era of commercial and critical success for those models.

Bangle's team also designed all the new models introduced under his tenure - which include the Z3, Z4, Z8, X5, X6, the 6 series and the 1 series. Bangle was also instrumental in creating the MINI, a car that BMW revamped and launched as a new brand. MINI has also been a success for the Bavaria automaker.

Bangle did take some heat from critics for what was seen as a poor re-design of the 7 series back in 2002 but his achievements have far outweighed any missteps.

Adrian van Hooydonk, 44, currently the head of design at BMW Automobile, will take Bangle's place as Director of BMW Group Design. He has worked closely alongside Bangle for 17 years.


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