[THE INVESTOR] Hyundai Motor, Korea’s largest carmaker, has appointed a new head for its US affiliate to tackle slumping sales in its all-important market.
Lee Kyung-soo, 61, will assume the post of president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America from Sept. 18 (local time), a role that had been vacant since December when Dave Zuchowski was removed.
Lee Kyung-soo (right)
“I’m honored and motivated to have been selected to lead Hyundai Motor America in one of the most interesting times in the automotive industry’s history and to reinvigorate momentum in the strategically important US market,” Lee said. “We have significant opportunities ahead of us. I’m looking forward to supporting our tremendous employee and dealership base and launching exciting new vehicles and technologies in the near future and beyond. I am confident we are heading to new levels of success.”
Lee Won-hee, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor, said the new US chief has “in-depth understanding of Hyundai Motor’s global operations based on nearly two decades of expertise in diverse markets around the world, including the US, Europe and Latin America.”
Jerry Flannery, who was interim CEO, will return to his position as executive vice president of Hyundai Motor America, the company said.
The new Hyundai Motor America chief, who also goes by the name Kenny, recently served as CEO of Hyundai Translead, a US affiliate of the carmaker that produces semi-truck trailers. Since joining the auto giant in 1982, he held key leadership roles in its affiliates, including president of Kia Motors’ operations in Spain and Latin America, as well as senior vice president of Kia Motors’ European operations.
Lee, who will be responsible for key areas including sales and marketing, faces the daunting task of reviving Hyundai sales in the world’s second largest auto market after China. The Korean automaker’s US sales in August tumbled 24.6 percent on-year to 54,310 units, posting double-digit falls for four consecutive months since May. The decline is largely attributed to Hyundai’s sedan-focused lineup that has lost appeal in the SUV-loving country.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor recently named Marty Focht, former western region sales manager for Mercedes-Benz USA, as the head of US sales for Hyundai’s Genesis luxury brand, ahead of the sports sedan G70’s American debut early next year. Hyundai Motor spun off Genesis as a standout brand in the global luxury car segment.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)