It’s never surprising to see a successful design professional move on after ten years working with one brand. However it can be a bit of a shock when that person has come to so embody the position and the brand he has lead. Gert Hildebrand has been a friend to this site and in a sense to all of it’s readers (likely more than most realize). He’s lead MINI through a controlled expansion of the brand impeccably well with increased sales and well earned critical acclaim growing year after year. However perhaps as importantly he’s treated MINI’s design traditions with care while dealing with the endless regulations around modern automotive design.

Gert will be stepping down at the end of the year and will be
replaced by the exceptionally talented Anders Warming who currently heads BMW exterior design.

We’ll have more of Gert and his legacy at MINI in the coming weeks. Until then, here’s the official press release.

Official Release: Gert Volker Hildebrand (57) has been responsible for the complete design development of the MINI brand since January 2001 and, with his design team, has shaped the development of the MINI brand portfolio. Over the last 10 years, the head of the MINI Design studio has provided the impetus for countless MINI vehicle concepts and for the entire design development. Alongside the further development of the third generation of the classic MINI, the MINI Cabrio and MINI Clubman were also created under his leadership. This year, Gert Hildebrand and his team added a real 4-door version to the MINI brand: the MINI Countryman, launched in September.

The MINI Coupé and MINI Roadster concepts presented in 2009, which will be appearing on the market in 2011 and 2012, were also created in the MINI Design studio under his guidance. Apart from designing cars, Gert Volker Hildebrand has also devoted himself to encouraging young designers and to talking about design in institutions and to the public.

Anders Warming, head of Exterior Design, BMW Automobiles, started working for DesignworksUSA in California in 1997. Following this, the 38-year-old Dane was employed in various positions as an automobile designer before coming to Munich in 2005 as Team Leader, Advanced Design, BMW Group. In 2007, he took over as head of Exterior Design, BMW Automobiles. Under his leadership, the BMW Z4, BMW 5 Series and the BMW Concept 6 Series Coupé, presented at the Paris Auto Show, were created.

“I would like to wish Gert Hildebrand all the best for the future and thank him for working with us so well and so successfully”, says Adrian van Hooydonk, head of BMW Group Design. “Anders Warming has the expertise, the necessary experience and the intuition to take the MINI brand, with the support of the entire MINI Design team, into a ever more successful future.”