The Stress Management Society

BMW chief’s collapse is another example of executive stress.

Stress takes its toll on Top Executive.

The news has recently highlighted that BMW’s CEO Harald Krueger collapsed during a press conference at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show last week.

People were understandably shocked, including his colleagues. Not much is clear about the incident – however it has been written that before he took to the stage, he felt ill and someone — probably Mr Krüger himself — decided to go ahead with the presentation anyway.

Was it the right decision? It was certainly understandable. He is a new chief executive who was due to speak at his home motor show. Cancelling would have looked bad. It would certainly have fuelled gossip.

I totally understand this feeling – even though I am a so called expert on stress, running a busy and growing organisation I too have been in this position.  I had surgery on my knee earlier in the year following a post Ironman injury, and within a few days put myself under pressure to go out and deliver an important event for a client.  I didn’t collapse but I came into the office the following day clearly compromised and thankfully my team performed an intervention and sent me home!

Thankfully, Mr Kruger is now recovering well.

Stress is often seen as an emotional response. However it starts as a physiological response – the emotions are a by-product.    The most probable explanation for Mr Kruger’s collapse is that he picked up a bug on one of the international trips that are routine for chief executives.  That combined with his inability to take the time to rest and recover (and that stress and tiredness supress the immune system) may have led to his collapse.

In this case, as in most others, prevention would have been much more efficient and effective than cure.

Ensuring that adequate support has been built in for senior executives and being wary of over packing diaries.  Build in ‘buffer’ days after business trips to allow some recovery time.  It is highly likely that Mr Kruger’s experience was a consequence of too much pressure on the mind and body.

Further to this, he had recently been appointed to this position. This intensity of workplace pressure would also have taken its toll. Starting a new job is a major source of stress.

In order to prevent executive burnout, follow our top tips:

All the techniques, if utilised can help prevent executive burnout – and it’s easier to prevent it than treat it when it happens.

Sufficient implementation would effectively provide ways to combat employee stress and prevent such situations from occurring, rather than having to implement a cure!

If you would like to discuss our Executive Stress Programmes or how we can support your senior team get in touch.


Have a wonderful day!

Neil Shah

Chief De-stressing officer

The Stress Management Society