[Photo provided by Hyundai Motor Co.]
South Korea’s largest automaker Hyundai Motor Co. named Jose Munoz, former chief performance officer at Nissan Motor, as its new global chief operating officer (COO) in a bid to bolster its global sales.
Munoz will take office in the newly established post starting May 1. He will also assume positions as president and chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America.
As the global COO, Munoz would be in charge of improving worldwide sales and profitability, rationalizing operations and outlining business strategies. He would be based in California and report directly to Seoul headquarters to respond quickly to fast-changing market conditions, according to Hyundai Motor.
Munoz pledged to work on optimizing supply networks and improving dealer relationships to deliver stronger results for the company.
His first task on the job would be to boost sales in North America, where the automaker has recently been struggling. He would also help with the company’s reorganization of overseas operations, a move initiated last year to grant more autonomy to each regional office.
Munoz, 53, was previously Nissan Motor’s chief performance officer and head of its Chinese operations. Born in Spain, he began his career in the auto industry as a dealer at Peugeot-Citroen and further built up his experience at Daewoo Motors’ Iberia unit and Toyota’s European unit. He joined Nissan in 2004 and led its Mexico and North America operations before moving onto his latest post as CPO and head of the China unit.
Munoz resigned from Nissan in January amid the financial scandal surrounding its ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn. He was considered a close aide of Ghosn and a potential successor to the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.
Hyundai Motor has been actively recruiting global talents. Its R&D chief is Albert Biermann, former head of BMW’s M division. Luc Donckerwolke, former design head of Bentley, currently leads Hyundai’s design unit while Thomas Schemera, former BMW manager, heads the firm’s new high-performance vehicle and motorsport division.
By Lee Jae-cheol and Kim Hyo-jin
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