In what’s called a series of Hyundai Motor Company personnel appointments designed to make the company more globalized and customer-oriented, Yong-woo (William) Lee, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America will also assume the role of president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America on an interim basis.
William Lee succeeds Kyung Soo (Kenny) Lee who is returning to Hyundai Motor Company as an “adviser.” A search for a permanent president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America will begin immediately. Lee headed Hyundai’s operations in the U.S. from September 2017. The job was held by Dave Zuchowski, who was fired in December 2016 for failing to meet sales targets.
Kenny Lee’s departure comes as Hyundai confronts mounting pressure to address reports about no collision engine fires in some of its vehicles. (See AutoInforned on Center for Auto Safety Demands Recall of 2.9 Million 2011-2014 Kia and Hyundai Vehicles for Fires)
William Lee, who has been with Hyundai for 35 years and most recently assumed the helm of the newly established Hyundai Motor North America. This operation supposedly provides greater integration across the entire region to actively respond to evolving market trends and customer needs.
Prior to his current role, William Lee was the head of Hyundai Motor Brazil, and spent time in charge of international sales at Hyundai Motor Company in Seoul. He also has extensive experience in the U.S. market, leading the creation of INNOCEAN USA in 2009 and running overseas sales for Hyundai Mobis Parts based in San Francisco.
“First, I would like to thank Kenny Lee for his contributions and helping put Hyundai Motor America in a stronger position than when he joined,” said William Lee. “The efforts we’ve made with our recent product introductions and improvements in the overall customer experience have directly led to retail sales and market share gains over the past several months. This is an incredibly exciting time to be working at Hyundai and I’m proud to lead this dedicated and passionate team.”