Hyundai Motor America is on the hunt for a new CEO as David Zuchowski has been fired today. Automotive News broke the story this morning after learning from sources about the change. Hyundai has confirmed Zuchowski's departure this afternoon and said W. Gerald Flannery will take over as interim CEO. Dealers were told about the decision last night and employees were notified earlier this afternoon.
Zuchowski joined Hyundai back in 2007 as the U.S. sales chief and would become CEO at the beginning of 2014. Sources tell Automotive News that Zuchowski was fired because he was unable to meet internal sales objectives. Hyundai was one of the few manufacturers that saw success during the 2008 recession. But in the past few years, Hyundai's growth has been dwindling.
- 2010: 24 percent
- 2011: 20 percent
- 2012: 9 percent
- 2013: 3 percent
- 2014: 1 percent
- 2015: 5 percent
- 2016 (so far): 1.3 percent
The reason for the shrink in growth comes down to Hyundai being weak or not having crossovers in certain segments. As we reported last month, Hyundai will be adding a new subcompact crossover in 2018, followed by an even smaller one. Also, the Santa Fe lineup would see some changes. However, it wasn't enough to keep Zuchowski as CEO.
“We appreciate Dave’s decade of service to Hyundai, especially his leadership as president and CEO, which has made us a stronger organization. I look forward to working closely with our dealers, affiliates, senior management and our talented and hard-working employees across the country to realize Hyundai’s full potential,” said Flannery in a statement.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Truth About Cars, Hyundai
Press Release is on Page 2
W. GERALD FLANNERY NAMED INTERIM PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Dec. 21, 2016 – Hyundai Motor America today announced a continuation of a reorganization that began late this year by appointing W. Gerald (Jerry) Flannery as interim president and CEO, effective immediately. He succeeds Dave Zuchowski who will be leaving the company.
Flannery, who has been with Hyundai since 1987 and is responsible for all legal matters in the U.S., will retain his duties as Chief Legal and Safety Officer. He is widely recognized as an authority on automotive product liability, regulatory and safety matters. His immediate focus will be enhancing the company’s brands, accelerating change for growth and customer satisfaction opportunities in the U.S. market.
“We appreciate Dave’s decade of service to Hyundai, especially his leadership as president and CEO, which has made us a stronger organization,” Flannery said. “I look forward to working closely with our dealers, affiliates, senior management and our talented and hard-working employees across the country to realize Hyundai’s full potential.”
Since joining Hyundai during its infancy in 1987, Flannery has been instrumental in leading the company through periods of rapid change and positioning it for steady growth. Recently, he created Hyundai’s first safety office in North America. Previously, Flannery was a senior attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at Ford Motor Co.
A search for Zuchowski’s replacement will begin immediately.