Hyundai Motor promotes younger executives, with eye on succession planning

Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:24am EST
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By Hyunjoo Jin

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor and affiliate Kia Motors promoted younger executives on Friday, in moves analysts said would help smoothen an eventual leadership succession at the family-owned conglomerate.

Hyundai Motor said it elevated chief marketing officer Cho Won-hong to executive vice president. Cho, 50, was handpicked by the automaker' s heir apparent Chung Eui-sun, people familiar with the matter said.

Its domestic public relations chief Kong Young-woon, who too is 50, was also elevated to the post, making the duo the second-youngest executive vice presidents currently at Hyundai.

At Kia, Kim Gyun, a 52-year-old at the strategic planning division, was also promoted to executive vice president.

"When you look at this year's management reshuffle at Korean firms, you have to focus on executive vice presidents, not CEOs, because they are the ones who will support scions when they take over," said Chung Sun-sup, head of local research firm

"The promotion of young executives should pave the way for the future of the junior Chung," he said.

Both Hyundai and Kia did not elaborate on the reasons for the promotion of the executives.

While Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo, 76, has given no signal that he plans to step down soon, he is expected to eventually hand over reins to his only son and vice chairman, Eui-sun, who is 44.   Continued...

A worker cycles past cars made by South Korea's biggest automakers Hyundai Motor Co and sister company Kia Motors at the company's shipping yard at a port in Pyeongtaek July 21, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji