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Hyundai Motor prepares for future with younger executives

1 in 3 newly promoted executives are in their 40s

Dec. 20, 2022 - 15:14 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Hyundai Motor Group’s newly promoted executive vice presidents (from left): Karim Habib, head of Kia’s design center, Lee Young-tack, head of Hyundai Motor’s Asia-Pacific region and Song Min-kyu, Genesis’ chief operating officer (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group on Tuesday promoted 176 employees to executive positions with a focus on rewarding achievements and preparing for the future as one in three of the newly promoted personnel were in their 40s.

The company said the executive promotions were performance-based, as the global carmaker sought to find leaders who can continue to carry out ongoing changes and future innovation in a stable manner to cope with uncertain business environments.

Of the 224 new promotions, about 70 percent took place at Hyundai Motor, Kia Motor and Hyundai Mobis in line with the automation and the group’s efforts to move towards developing vehicles centered around the software.

Three senior vice presidents -- Karim Habib, head of Kia’s design center, Lee Young-tack, head of Hyundai Motor’s Asia-Pacific region and Song Min-kyu, Genesis’ chief operating officer -- have been promoted to become executive vice presidents.

The company said Habib has bolstered Kia’s brand competitiveness by establishing its own design philosophy, noting that he will continue to build up Kia’s identity.

According to Hyundai Motor, Lee successfully led the completion of joint venture factories in Indonesia and Vietnam based on his various overseas experiences in different countries such as Brazil, Turkey and Russia. As Lee laid the foundation for success in Southeast Asia with the establishment of sales corporations in the Philippines and Thailand, the company said he will be in charge of expanding sales in the region and conducting future business there.

Regarding Song, Hyundai said he has played an important role in bringing up Genesis’ profit margin and solidifying its brand on the global stage. Song will lead Genesis’ mid- to long-term plans including the premium brand’s transformation into electric vehicles, according to the company.

Hyundai Rotem, the group’s heavy industry maker specializing in manufacturing railway and defense vehicles, saw the highest number of promotions in the history of the company with nine promotions and new executives. For the reasons behind the unprecedented promotions, Hyundai Motor pointed to the company’s notable achievements such as signing a 4.5 trillion won ($3.5 billion) tank deal with Poland in August.

Hyundai Motor Group appointed Kim Heung-soo, an executive vice president, to lead its recently-launched Global Strategy Office to accelerate the firm’s revolution into becoming a future mobility group. Kim has served as the head of the group’s future growth strategy and EV sales units.

According to Hyundai, the main missions of the GSO include analyzing new technology, setting up strategies for mobility, semiconductor and EVs and pushing for creating a smart city. The GSO will also have a future growth committee that will be in charge of software, automation, service and strategic investment.

“We conducted the executive personnel appointments to effectively respond to uncertain business conditions and accelerate the transition to future businesses. Following the performance-oriented personnel changes, we will do our best to prepare for a sustainable future,” said a Hyundai Motor official.