BMW (US) Holding Corp. top executive Tom Purves will slide over to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd. in the U.K., taking over the CEO spot from Ian Robertson in July.

The move follows the recent appointment of Robertson to parent BMW AG’s management board. Robertson will remain chairman of Rolls-Royce.

Purves has held the position of chairman and CEO of BMW in the U.S. since May 1999, but he already was in the process of relinquishing the day-to-day operational duties to Jim O’Donnell, recently appointed president of BMW North America.

With Purves’ departure, O’Donnell now will assume the position of chairman and CEO.

Purves has spent his entire career in the auto industry, starting out as an apprentice engineer at Rolls-Royce’s Crewe, U.K., plant in 1967. He joined BMW in 1985 as a sales director for the U.K. and was promoted to managing director there in 1989.

“I am delighted to be taking the helm at Goodwood as the company continues to develop with the upcoming launch of the Phantom Coupe and, most significantly, the introduction of (the smaller) RR4 in 2010,” Purves says. “I have always felt a special connection with Rolls-Royce, having started my career in the car division.”