Hyundai reinstates r&d president Kwon Moon-si

Article by Anita Panait, on February 26, 2014

Hyundai Motor Co. has reinstated former r&d president Kwon Moon-sik, just three months after he resigned over a series quality issues. On the other hand, Oh Suk-geun, head of its Hyundai’s design center, resigned for "personal reasons." The move comes as Hyundai is getting to unveil the fully overhauled version of its key model, the Sonata, in South Korea in March.

The Sonata will be next unveiled in the United States and other markets. Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo has been known for abruptly firing executives and rehiring some of them. While Chung’s management style does keep executives uptight, critics were worried on the lack of management consistency at the carmaker.

"Given his expertise, experience and leadership skills, we reinstated president Kwon to enhance quality and r&d capability from scratch," Hyundai said in a statement.

Hyundai, which has joint r&d operations with Kia, disclosed in November that Kwon and two other r&d executives resigned due to a string of quality issues. The move was seen as a gesture to save Hyundai’s quality reputation, which was undermined by massive recalls in South Korea, the US and other countries in 2013, as well consumer complaints over quality issues.

Kwon was known as a "private tutor" of Chung's only son and heir apparent Chung Eui-sun, according to a media report. Kwon reports to r&d vice chairman Yang Woong-chul.

With Kwon’s reinstatement, his replacement, Kim Hae-jin, returned to his previous role in charge of overseeing powertrain development.  Replacing Oh as head of Hyundai’s design center is exterior design head Lee Byung-seob, who will report to Peter Schreyer, chief of both Kia and Hyundai designs.

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