Helmut Panke

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Helmut Panke
Born 31 August 1946 (1946-08-31) (age 67)
Fürstenwalde, East Germany
Nationality German
Occupation former Chairman of BMW AG
Board member of
Microsoft, UBS AG, Singapore Airlines, Bayer AG

Helmut G.W. Panke[1] (born 31 August 1946[2][3] in Fürstenwalde, East Germany[4]) served as chairman of the board at BMW AG from May 2002 through August 2006.[5]


Panke attended the University of Munich (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) from 1968, finishing his Diplom in 1972, and a Ph.D. in 1976.[3] He was an AFS Exchange Student to the United States in 1964-1965.[citation needed] He earned his doctorate in nuclear physics before joining the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Research.[6]


From 1976 to 1978, Panke was a researcher at the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Research and a lecturer at the University of Munich. From 1978 to 1982, he was a consultant with McKinsey & Company.[3] In 1982, he started at his career at Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW),[5] where he joined as a head of planning and control of the research and development division. He later added that his attraction to the company was based on the reputation the company had for encouraging creativity and independence among its staff.[6]

Over the next 20 years, Panke worked his way up through the company, working in nearly every department. He managed the US manufacturing facility that was responsible for building, as well as corporate planning, organisation, staff, IT, finance and sales. In 2002, when the chairman at the time, Joachim Milburg, resigned on health reasons, Panke was the clear choice for succession. During his tenure, he was praised for leading the company’s internationalisation and his refusal to move the company into the lower priced mass market.[6]

Panke has served on the board of directors for Microsoft since November 11, 2003. He also serves on the boards of UBS AG, Singapore Airlines, and the supervisory board of Bayer AG.[5]


  1. ^ http://www.corbis.co.in/searchresults.php?s=Helmut+G.W.+Panke
  2. ^ "Helmut Panke". Reference for Business. 
  3. ^ a b c "Helmut Panke Biography". eNotes. 
  4. ^ Jorn Madslien (23 February 2006). "BMW boss Panke's vision for the future". BBC News. 
  5. ^ a b c "Dr. Helmut Panke". Microsoft. September 1, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Helmut Panke". EuropeanCEO.com. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2013.