Hyundai’s R&D Chiefs Offer to Resign

December 11, 2018 at 12:20 PM

The two vice chairmen who oversee research and development at Hyundai Motor Group have offered to resign, sources tell Reuters.

The two executives, Yang Woong-chul and Kwon Moon-sik, each are 64 years old. They are likely to be replaced by Albert Biermann, who arrived from BMW AG two years ago to head product development for the group’s Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands, according to Reuters.

The news services’ sources say the moves may be announced tomorrow as part of a broader management shakeup at Hyundai.

The South Korean carmaker has been struggling with slumping sales and falling profits, mainly because of marketing miscues, such as failing to respond quickly to the global shift from sedans to SUV/crossover vehicles.

The company began a management overhaul in September after Chung Eui-sun, 48, was named vice chairman. Chung is the son and heir apparent of 80-year-old Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo.

The younger Chung already has named new executives—many of them non-Koreans—for design, product planning and operations in China and the U.S. One source tells Reuters the moves are an effort to install a new generation of leadership at Hyundai.