South Korea’s largest automakers, Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors made top executive moves late on Friday, upgrading the status of younger executives, in moves that analysts forecast to be in line with succession strategy.
The industry experts consider the latest management changes might make the transition to a new leadership easier for the closely run family-owned conglomerate. Cho Won-hong, Hyundai Motor’s chief marketing officer has been upgraded to executive vice president status. Cho, 50, according to insiders that have knowledge of the company’s planning, was the direct choice of the automaker’ s heir apparent Chung Eui-sun. Further on, Kong Young-woon, also 50, formerly the domestic public relations leader has been elevated to an executive vice president role, in a move that makes both the second-youngest executive vice presidents that work for the carmaker.
“The promotion of young executives should pave the way for the future of the junior Chung,” comments Chung Sun-sup, head of local research firm Chaebul.com. At Kia, Kim Gyun, a 52-year-old manager from the strategic planning unit also received the executive vice president appointment. Hyundai Motor Group is headed by Chung Mong-koo, 76, a long-runing family head that has given no signals he may want to retire but everyone expects to do so in the near future in favor of his only son and vice chairman, Eui-sun, 44.