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Executive reshuffles

Hyundai Motor Chairman's inner circle promoted to key leadership

By Dec 16, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)


Hyundai Motor Chairman's inner circle promoted to key leadership


Hyundai Motor Group has carried out a massive reshuffling among its key affiliates, with members of Chairman Chung Euisun's inner circle promoted to chief executive roles. The new change in the group's core leadership heralds Chung's drive to transition the global automaker into a smart mobility leader.

On Dec. 15, the South Korean automaker announced new executive appointments in its affiliates Hyundai Motor Co., construction and engineering firm Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., and auto parts makers Hyundai Mobis Co., and Hyundai Wia Corp.

This marks Chairman Chung's first CEO appointments since taking the helm at the country's second-largest conglomerate in October.

Hyundai Motor CEO Chang Jae-hoon
Hyundai Motor CEO Chang Jae-hoon

Hyundai Motor Company, the group's backbone, has promoted Executive Vice President Chang Jae-hoon as its new CEO. 

Chang, equipped with years of experience in Samsung Group and General Electric, is credited with reforming Hyundai Motor’s corporate culture. He is an important member of Chairman Chung's close circle, often giving advice on critical issues.

Shin Jai-won, executive vice president of the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) division and an aviation expert from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was raised to the post of president of Hyundai Motor. He is expected to play a central role in the group's UAM development, business acceleration, alongside achieving the group’s future mobility mission.

Hyundai Motor also welcomed Lee Kyu-oh as a new executive vice president. Lee led the development of the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), a platform dedicated to electric vehicle batteries for the group’s Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands. 

Kim Sae-hoon, the former head of the fuel cell center, was also promoted as an executive vice president of Hyundai Motor. Kim holds world-leading expertise in fuel cells and has led the group’s future electrification businesses. 

Cho Sung-hwan, executive vice president at auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis was appointed as its CEO. Cho is expected to boost Hyundai Mobis’ abilities in future technologies and launch new businesses backed by his experience as the former executive vice president of the group's R&D division.

Another auto parts maker, Hyundai Wia Corp., greeted Jung Jae-wook as the chief executive. Jung is an expert in components development for Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis with a career spanning over 30 years. He aims to reorganize Hyundai Wia’s business portfolio to include electric vehicle parts and enhance its global competitiveness.

Yoon Young-joon was promoted as the CEO of Hyundai Engineering & Construction. His achievements include spearheading the affiliate’s efforts to foster core competitiveness and reforming corporate culture.


CHUNG’S INNER CIRCLE TAKES OVER

Chairman Chung's commitment to future mobility as the group's core growth driver is conveyed in the latest leadership shuffle. More than 30 percent of new promotions came from mobility, future business, and new technology sectors.

The new appointment of CEOs in the group's core affiliates is in stark contrast to conventional practice in Korea, where large companies tend to avoid replacing chief executives in their significant affiliates.

“A company that cannot adapt to the fast-changing global automobile market cannot survive,” said an industry source. “It’s an inevitable choice to ensure the company’s future,” the source added.


Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Euisun


Aside from the newly appointed Hyundai Motor CEO Chang, other key members of Chung's inner circle include Kim Geol, Kong Young-woon and Chi Young-cho, who all currently serve as presidents at Hyundai Motor.

Industry watchers say that Chung’s tight-knit group has a solid understanding of his business approach and is aligned with his goal to transition Hyundai Motor into a future mobility service. 

Kim played a crucial role in putting up a strong defense against US-based activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. in a proxy battle between 2018 and 2019.

Kong has a vast network alongside shrewd judgment regarding various pending issues. Meanwhile, Chi has overseen future business investment since joining the group in 2017. He previously served as a vice president at Samsung Electronics.


Write to Byung-uk Do and Il-gue Kim at dodo@hankyung.com

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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