October 14, 2020 12:30
Hyundai chief Chung Eui-sun has been named chairman of the automotive conglomerate to replace his 82-year-old father. The group's board made the appointment official in a meeting on Wednesday.
So far his title was vice chairman, although he had taken over the running from Chung Mong-koo since 2018. Chung senior stepped down in February after 20 years at the helm and will become honorary chairman, as is customary in family-run conglomerates.
Chung Eui-sung has had one of the longest apprenticeships among the scions of the chaebol, who are often helicoptered into executive position before they can tie their own shoelaces.
He started working for Hyundai Precision Industries in 1994, before the car parts maker changed its name to Hyundai Mobis. He became president of Kia in 2005, when the subsidiary was struggling financially and overcame the crisis with design innovations.
He became vice chairman of Hyundai in 2009 as markets around the world were reeling from the global financial crisis and successfully offered a buyback program in the U.S. for customers who lost their jobs within a year of buying a car, catapulting the group to one of the world's top five players.
One industry insider said, "Hyundai has a new leader at a time of major change in the auto industry where combustion engines are being replaced by eco-friendly, self-driving cars."
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