BMW of North America U.S. Corporate Communications Changes.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – June 5, 2024… Manfred Grunert, Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications, Americas, is pleased to announce the following changes within the BMW of North America Corporate Communications team, effective June 1, 2024.

Thomas Plucinsky, currently Head, BMW Group Product Communication will transition to the newly formed position as Head, BMW Group Classic USA. In his new role, Tom will oversee all BMW Group Classic division activities in the USA and Canada. Working closely with the BMW Group Classic in Munich, Tom will be responsible for communications of the BMW Group brands from a historical context. He will work with the various official clubs (car and motorcycle) and individual collectors to strengthen the BMW community in the U.S. and Canada. He will be responsible for growing the classic parts business in North America and will manage the BMW USA Classic Collection fleet of historically significant vehicles, artifacts, and archives. As part of his portfolio of topics, Tom will continue to be responsible for the communications of BMW M Motorsport activities in North America. With 35 years of experience at BMW in a variety of functions, in two subsidiaries, Tom has a deep knowledge of the company and its products plus a genuine passion for the history while also understanding the transformational forces that are currently reshaping the company.

Mariella Kapsaskis, currently Head of BMW NA Corporate Communications, will add oversight of BMW Group product communications to her role, and assume the new title of Department

Manager, Corporate and Product Communications. In this new position, Mariella will take on full responsibility for all U.S. corporate, product, and technology communications topics, and

management of the U.S. team, with the goal of shaping, promoting, and protecting the reputation of the company, its products, brands, and business in the market both externally and internally. 

Mariella’s eighteen years of communications experience spans a variety of sectors from technology to fashion, luxury and automotive both on the agency side and in-house, working on the corporate communications teams both at Lands’ End and later Mercedes-Benz USA.  She came to BMW of North America in 2015 to head up corporate and product communications for MINI USA and has taken on various leadership roles in the department since then.

Both Tom and Mariella will report directly to Manfred Grunert. 

As part of this new structure, Phil DiIanni will take on an expanded role in the department. In addition to his current responsibilities as the U.S. corporate communications and external media relations lead for business, sales, marketing, and culture topics, Phil will now also have responsibility and oversight for technology, innovation, and sustainability communications and initiatives. 

Alex Schmuck, currently Manager, BMW Product & Technology Communications and BMW Performance Center Communications also expands his area of responsibility to include oversight of MINI and BMW Motorrad communications in the U.S.  He will assume the new title of Manager, BMW Group Product Communications, U.S. 

Kathryn Vallis adds digital communications to her current responsibilities for internal and executive communications and assumes the new title of Sr. Specialist Executive, Internal and Digital Communications. Kathryn is currently responsible for the planning and execution of all employee communications, internal events and initiatives, across the BMW Group business units

in the U.S. She will now also have oversight and responsibility for the digital communications tools for the department including press websites, media analytics, and the corporate communications social channels.  

Esther Mansfield adds strategy, planning, and steering to her current scope and assumes the new title of Sr. Specialist BMW Group Corporate Communications Events. In this position, Esther will continue to oversee all BMW Group media activations in the U.S. while expanding her responsibilities to lead the alignment between BMW Group communication strategies and goals with existing and new communication event platforms. 

Phil, Alex, Kathryn, and Esther will report directly to Mariella Kapsaskis. 

BMW Group in America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is the BMW Group global center of competence for BMW X models and assembles the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 350 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers,146 BMW motorcycle retailers, 105 MINI passenger car dealers, and 38 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Journalist note: Information about the BMW Group and its products in the USA is available to journalists online at , and