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    John Krafcik Steps Down As Hyundai CEO



    Some very surprising news coming out Hyundai this afternoon. The automaker announced that president and CEO John Krafcik will be stepping down from his position January 1st, at the completion of his contract.

    "On behalf of Hyundai Motor Company, we sincerely thank John for his visionary leadership and relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which has driven Hyundai's record growth over the past five years," said Im Tak Uk, the COO and executive vice president of HMA's parent company, Hyundai Motor Company.

    Krafcik's five-year tenure as Hyundai Motor America's CEO saw the company grow from a budget brand to one that is compared with the likes of Honda, Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Toyota. Hyundai also saw its sales and market share grow dramatically.

    “It’s been a sincere privilege and honor to lead Hyundai Motor America over the past five years, and I am confident that with Dave’s succession, our brand will continue to expand and thrive for years to come. We have many of the best and brightest employees in the business coupled with a committed and talented dealer network that will continue to pay dividends,” said Krafcik.

    Taking Krafcik's place as CEO is David Zuchowski, executive vice president of Sales for Hyundai. Previously, Zuchowski worked for Ford and Mazda.

    "I am both humbled and excited to lead Hyundai Motor America into the next chapter by continuing to build on John's great legacy, and focusing on what matters most – building the highest quality, safest and most diverse fleet of models that customers love," said Zuchowski.

    Source: Hyundai

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    DAVE ZUCHOWSKI NAMED PRESIDENT/CEO OF HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA

    COSTA MESA, Calif., December 27, 2013 - Hyundai Motor America today announced that President and Chief Executive Officer John Krafcik will step down upon the successful completion of his contract on December 31, 2013. David Zuchowski, executive vice president of Sales, will assume the position of President and CEO effective January 1, 2014.

    "On behalf of Hyundai Motor Company, we sincerely thank John for his visionary leadership and relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction, which has driven Hyundai's record growth over the past five years," said Im Tak Uk, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Company. "John's forward-looking perspective, commitment to quality and design, and pursuit of innovative new product offerings have elevated the Hyundai brand and introduced our vehicles to a new generation of satisfied and loyal customers."

    Under Krafcik's tenure with the automaker, Hyundai Motor America experienced dramatic increases in sales volume and market share, while garnering numerous prestigious industry awards. During the same time period, the model year 2009 Genesis and 2012 Elantra took top honors as North American Car of the Year, while numerous Hyundai models received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick designation.

    "It's been a sincere privilege and honor to lead Hyundai Motor America over the past five years, and I am confident that with Dave's succession, our brand will continue to expand and thrive for years to come," said Krafcik. "We have many of the best and brightest employees in the business coupled with a committed and talented dealer network that will continue to pay dividends."

    Incoming President and CEO David Zuchowski joined Hyundai Motor America in February 2007 as vice president of Sales with responsibility for all sales, sales operations, market representation, field operations and overall dealer relations. A proven 33-year veteran of the automotive industry, Zuchowski was previously with Mazda North America, where he served as vice president of Sales and Field Operations. Zuchowski began his career in 1980 at Ford Motor Company, where he progressed through various executive-level positions including regional manager, product marketing manager, national merchandising manager and field operations manager for the Ford and Lincoln Mercury divisions. Zuchowski earned his Bachelors of Arts in Communications from the University of Washington.

    "I am both humbled and excited to lead Hyundai Motor America into the next chapter by continuing to build on John's great legacy, and focusing on what matters most – building the highest quality, safest and most diverse fleet of models that customers love," said Zuchowski.

    "Dave has consistently distinguished himself as a results-oriented and motivational leader in our industry," said Im. "During his time at Hyundai, Dave has been instrumental in our growth, especially among our dealers. He exhibits a rare combination of passion, intelligence, creativity and diligence, and we are confident that he is the right choice to build on John's momentum and take Hyundai to new and greater heights."

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    Interesting that they didn't want to keep him around longer after such an amazing streak of growth.... but maybe he didn't want to stick around either.

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    The timing of all this is interesting. There was no real warning, that I heard.

    So the next question is where will he go? With GM locking down it's top spots, I think GM is out of the question. Also, the speculation around Ford is that their top spot is all but done once Mullaly moves on to (no comment) Microsoft.

    That leaves, well, everyone else. That said, who do I think he could fit best with?

    IMO, I'd speculate either Nissan, or very possibly Chrysler/Fiat for the North American market. He has experience working with an 'asian' style of management, which would work for a Nissan gig, but also is known as being pretty outspoken, and casual, which may play into a resurgent Chrysler/Fiat.

    We haven't seen the last of Mr K.

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    I could see him show up at Chrysler.

    In regards to Mullaly going to Microsoft, that would be the biggest mistake and be a death nail in Microsoft. They need someone with Technical vision, not a paper pusher who knows how to clean up mgmt. messes that the Ford Family left behind.

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    I'm less pessimistic about Mullaly's abilities for Microsoft. One thing that Mullaly has done is make a company focus on product that people actually WANT, and also focus on what they are good at. Microsoft has been all over the map with some of their product releases. To my way of thinking, a navigator doesn't need to know exactly how the engine works. He just needs to know where he wants to go. The rest will take care of itself.

    The only irony of it all is that if Mullaly goes to Microsoft, he would be working for the company that has lead the one area that while he was at Ford, was not able to make right. The MyFordTouch/Sync system - by Microsoft.

    As for Krafcik going to Chrysler. I think the dynamic would be enticing for Krafcik. A company that is rising from the ashes, despite the nay sayers, but still has many challenges ahead. If quality men rise to the challenge, this one has some upside.

    The only question with Chrysler is, is there is enough room to fit Krafcik into the mix, while still giving him the idea that there is room to move up. After all, nobody wants to take a dead end job, right?

    Heck, who knows? If the money is right, and the OE opportunities don't show, he may end up at a supplier who wants more OE business!

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