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BOD shake-up

Young, female, foreign: Hyundai Motor Group’s new BOD

Feb 21, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Chung Euisun, chairman of Hyundai Motor Group

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, under its new leader Chung Euisun, is seeking changes on its board of directors, the group's top business decision-making body, with a member shake-up touted as being young, female and foreign.

Hyundai Mobis Co., the auto parts unit of the group, last week decided to appoint Kang Jin-ah, a professor at Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Technology Management, Economics and Policy, as an outside director.

Her appointment, making her the first female independent director and auditor at any of Hyundai Motor Group’s major affiliates, is subject to shareholder approval at the parts maker’s annual general meeting scheduled for Mar. 24.

An expert in technology management and business strategy for nearly three decades, she worked as a founding director of the Korean Mobility Society.

Ko Young-seok, head of Hyundai Mobis' R&D Planning and Operation Department, has also been named a new member of its board of directors (BOD). It marks the first time for the company to add a mid-tier executive to the BOD, which has always been occupied by executives at the vice-president level and above.

MOVE AIMED AT ENHANCING EXPERTISE

To diversify its board members and enhance business expertise, the auto components maker has also hired foreigners as its outside directors.

In February 2019, Hyundai Mobis announced the additions of Karl-Thomas Neumann and Brian D. Jones to its board as independent directors. Separately, Hyundai Motor Co. hired Albert Biermann, head of the group’s research and development division, as an internal director on its board in the same year.


Neumann previously served as the chief executive at global automotive supplier Continental AG. He also worked as CEO of Volkswagen Group China and OPEL, a German automaker.

Jones was a co-president of US investment firm Archegos Capital Management before joining Hyundai Mobis.

“We are filling our BOD seats with people who are experts in various sectors. This is to prepare for our company’s shift to a future mobility provider,” said a Hyundai Mobis official.

Hyundai Glovis Co., the logistics unit of the automotive group, said it is appointing Yoon Yoon-jin, a civil and environmental engineering professor at the state-run Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), as an outside director.

The 49-year-old female scholar will be the youngest BOD member among Hyundai Motor Group affiliates.

Kia Corp., a sister automaker of Hyundai Motor, meanwhile, has named Cho Wha-soon, a professor of political science and international studies at Yonsei University, as an independent director and auditor at the company.

CHUNG MONG-KOO STEPS AWAY FROM DIRECT MANAGEMENT

Meanwhile, Chung Mong-koo, Hyundai Motor Group’s honorary chairman and father of current Chairman Chung Euisun, will loosen his control over the automotive group.

He will renounce his Hyundai Mobis board membership at the upcoming shareholders’ meeting in March. His current term as an internal director at the company was originally set to expire in March 2022.

Chung Mong-koo, honorary chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, visits a Kia plant in 2008.

With the expiry of his board membership at Hyundai Mobis next month, the 82-year-old will hold no official post at the Hyundai Motor Group, signifying no more direct involvement in running any part of the automotive group.

His son, Euisun, assumed the chairmanship of Hyundai Motor Group in October of last year, officially confirming his ascension to the leadership throne of the world’s fifth-largest automaker.

Write to Sun A Lee at suna@hankyung.com

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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