The Korea Herald


Record earnings propel Hyundai Motor to conduct most promotions ever

Automaker speeds up generation shift with focus on technical experts

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Dec. 20, 2023 - 15:08

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President Brian Latouf (left) and President Lee Dong-seock (Hyundai Motor Group) President Brian Latouf (left) and President Lee Dong-seock (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group promoted 252 executives on Wednesday, the largest upper-level promotion ever in the company’s history, on the back of its record-high earnings this year as it looks to find future mobility leaders.

Hyundai Motor said the promotions focused on preparing for the future as it speeds up its generational shift in leadership. Among the promoted, there are 197 newly appointed executives, of which some 38 percent are in their 40s. The conglomerate's proportion of those in their 40s among the newly appointed executives has continued to increase from 21 percent in 2020, 20 percent in 2021 and 35 percent in 2022.

The promotions included 97 individuals at Hyundai Motor Company, 38 at Kia and 20 at Hyundai Mobis. The automaker said a total of 48 individuals were promoted to executive vice president and senior vice president to secure key leaders who could be the next CEOs that secure the firm's sustainability.

About 30 percent of the promotions were made in the technology sectors such as research and development and new business and manufacturing, in line with Hyundai Motor’s aim of retaining technical talent.

The carmaker pointed out that the promotions underlined its renewed business principle of “Quality First.”

Executive Vice President Brian Latouf was promoted to president and appointed global chief safety and quality officer. Latouf joined Hyundai Motor Company’s North American branch in 2019 and has led the brand’s efforts to bolster trust based on engineering expertise and customer-centered quality control. Before his tenure with the Korean automaker, Latouf worked at General Motors for 27 years as an automotive safety expert.

As the new safety and quality head of Hyundai Motor Company and Kia, Latouf will oversee quality control policies covering the whole process of vehicle development, production and after-sales services. The automaker plans to set up a new organization under Latouf to implement the new quality control standards quickly.

Executive Vice President Lee Dong-seock has been promoted to president. Lee, who is in charge of Hyundai Motor Company’s domestic production and safety, successfully spearheaded a wage agreement with the labor union for the last five years without a strike and achieved a record-high production of 1.86 units from domestic plants this year.

Hyundai AutoEver CEO nominee Kim Yun-goo (left) and Hyundai Motor Securities CEO nominee Bae Hyung-keun (Hyundai Motor Group) Hyundai AutoEver CEO nominee Kim Yun-goo (left) and Hyundai Motor Securities CEO nominee Bae Hyung-keun (Hyundai Motor Group)

Executive Vice President Kim Yun-goo and Executive Vice President Bae Hyung-keun have each been promoted to the position of president. Kim was nominated for the role of CEO at Hyundai AutoEver, the group’s mobility software developer, and Bae for CEO of Hyundai Motor Securities.

As Kim has taken important roles in the group’s human resources and audit departments, Hyundai Motor said it expects Kim to bolster the organizational structure and software capabilities of Hyundai AutoEver. According to Hyundai Motor, Bae -- who served as the chief financial officer at Hyundai Mobis and is regarded a financial expert -- is expected to control risks and secure competitiveness in the retail investment banking sector.

President Jeon Byeong-ku (left) and Executive Vice President Kim Hae-in (Hyundai Motor Group) President Jeon Byeong-ku (left) and Executive Vice President Kim Hae-in (Hyundai Motor Group)

Executive Vice President Jeon Byeong-ku, who heads the business management teams at Hyundai Card and Hyundai Commercial, has been promoted to president. Hyundai Motor said Jeon is considered a risk management expert, as he has dealt with multiple crises including the 1997 currency crisis, the 2008 global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hyundai Motor recruited Executive Vice President Kim Hae-in, formerly the chief human resources officer at British American Tobacco, and appointed her to the head of the group’s human resources department. With her experience at BAT, which operates in 175 countries, Kim is expected to ramp up Hyundai Motor’s inclusive culture.

“The executive promotions were made to achieve the strategy of the ‘2025 Smart Mobility Solution Provider’ and strengthen the leadership to prepare for 2030,” said a Hyundai Motor Group official.

“We will continue to aggressively invest in talented personnel who can lead changes and innovations for the group’s future business transformation.”