The Korea Herald


Hyundai Motor Group wraps up generational shift in leadership

Auto group’s key affiliates hold annual proxy meetings at respective headquarters

By Bae Hyunjung

Published : March 24, 2021 - 16:29

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Hyundai Motor holds its annual proxy meeting at its headquarters in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor) Hyundai Motor holds its annual proxy meeting at its headquarters in Seocho-gu, southern Seoul, Wednesday. (Hyundai Motor)
Hyundai Motor Group’s key affiliates held their annual shareholders meetings Wednesday and addressed pending issues such as reshuffling boardrooms, enhancing ESG policies and revamping business in keeping with the post-coronavirus market trends.

A notable change was that the group efficiently wrapped up the generational shift in its leadership, with the senior honorary chairman stepping down from all his official posts and fully clearing the track for his recently inaugurated son.

Chung Mong-koo, 82, honorary chairman of the group and father of incumbent Chairman Chung Euisun, stepped down from his executive director position on the board of auto parts affiliate Hyundai Mobis, the company said after its proxy meeting in the morning at its headquarters in Seoul’s Gangnam-gu. The senior Chung has now resigned from all managerial positions and ended his 51-year career with the carmaking group.

The company’s shareholders also approved the appointment of CEO and President Cho Sung-hwan and of a new executive director to take over for the retired Chung.

Chung Mong-koo was slated to hold his director seat until March next year but apparently made the decision to step down earlier to buttress the leadership of his son, who took over as group chairman in October.

Hyundai Motor Group had earlier submitted a request to the Fair Trade Commission that its official chief be changed to Chairman Chung Euisun instead of Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-koo. Should the antitrust watchdog consent and reflect the change in its annual conglomerate information updates slated for May, the auto group will at last wrap up the gradational generation shift in its leadership.

Meanwhile, the group’s flagship unit Hyundai Motor held its own proxy meeting at the headquarters in Seoul’s Seocho-gu and reiterated its vows to gear up efforts to deal with the fast-changing car market in the post-coronavirus era.

“Last year, we faced sharp dips in global car demand due to manufacturing site shutdowns and business network interruptions amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ha Eon-tae, president and co-CEO of the carmaker, in his opening speech.

Financial conditions also worked against car exporters as the currencies of emerging economies weakened and the Korean won strengthened, he added.

“But on the back of thorough quarantine measures and nimble strategic responses, we managed to surpass our production target and minimize setbacks on the export fronts.”

The chief also stressed the company’s expansion out of the conventional car business and into new realms, citing the acquisition of US-based robotics firm Boston Dynamics last year.

The latest proxy meeting was broadcast via the company’s online and mobile platforms to shareholders who had applied to participate in advance. Only 150 were present at the scene and were seated in compliance with the social distancing rules, according to the company.

Another key task was to expand the company’s transparent management committee and convert it into a sustainable management committee, reflecting the growing demand for ESG -- the business trend that places value on environmental, social and governance factors.

By Bae Hyun-jung (