Official: BMW Hires a New Head of MINI Design

And it’s not Frank Stephenson. The new head of MINI Design will be Oliver Heilmer who has been leading the California base BMW Designworks as of late. Oliver has been part of the BMW Group for 17 years and comes to MINI with vast design experience across many industries – not just automotive.

We’ll have more on this move by MINI soon. Until read on for the full release.

Official release: Oliver Heilmer will take over as head of MINI Design effective 1 September 2017. The 42-year-old designer is currently president of Designworks, a BMW Group subsidiary with design studios in California, Munich and Shanghai. Heilmer has been part of the BMW Group design team for 17 years and was responsible for interior design for the BMW brand up until 2016.

“The ‘MINI VISION NEXT 100’ provided an impressive demonstration of MINI’s future viability,” explained Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “I am confident that the MINI design team under Oliver Heilmer will implement this vision of the brand in future vehicle models and win over MINI customers. With his design expertise and experience, Oliver Heilmer combines continuity with the freshness and vision MINI stands for.”

In the MINI design team Heilmer will lead from September, Christopher Weil remains in charge of Exterior Design, with Kerstin Schmeding responsible for Colour and Material Design. Interior Design will be headed by Christian Bauer from 1 June.

Effective 1 September 2017, Heilmer will be succeeded as president of Designworks by Holger Hampf. Hampf was a member of the Designworks management team from 2002 and responsible for Product Design up until 2010, when he moved to an external design studio. Since returning to the BMW Group in 2014, the 50-year-old’s responsibilities have included user interface design and realigning the design team for digitalisation. “For me, Designworks is more than just a design studio; it is the strategic interface to our customers’ future living environment,” explained BMW Group Chief Designer Adrian van Hooydonk. “I am delighted to welcome Holger Hampf as president. He is an experienced colleague who knows Designworks well and brings the expertise we need for an increasingly digital customer experience.”


    Good, the R56 and other second gen mini’s looked good. Hope the F generation can get a face lift.

  • Nick Dawson

    If the rumor mill is to be believed, the styling of the fourth generation MINI G-series, will move away from the retro Mini styling. There is a limit to just how far it can legitimately be stretched. The Countryman is more credible because there is no previous heritage attached to it.

    Far better to hire a fresh stylist, than to re-hire FS.

  • Gary

    I don’t know. After spelunking in the BMW Designworks website I’m not optimistic. Looks like a lot of hipster malarky to me. I’d have more confidence in an actual car guy with some attachment to the Mini heritage.


    I must strongly disagree with Nick Dawson on his comment regrading Mr. Stephenson. Frank Stephenson created the reborn MINI and he did it perfectly. BMW has slowly morphed the styling away from the retro MINI concept into their interpretation of a MINI. Obviously styling is completely subjective but if this forum is any indication I think there is more discontent than approval of the F series design evolution. I, like many others, felt FS was the perfect man to get MINI back to where it should be. Maybe Oliver will come through but your comments on what the rumor mill are saying is very disheartening and probably means the end of me as a MINI customer

    • ulrichd

      Even FS would have been stuck with the 1-series chassis, so there is no hope that the car’s size will shrink. Hopefully a fresh approach will be able to hide that nose and bring back those small overhangs.

  • Nick Dawson

    On December 7, 2013, MF published an extract of an interview by Yahoo Automotive’s Jamie Kitman with Frank Stephenson, which attracted 62 comments from MF readers, and some passionate debate. It was classic MF and is worth reading again.