SEOUL – South Korean conglomerate Hyundai Motor formally appointed Chung Euisun as the new chairman of the group on Wednesday.
Chung, who was vice-chairman, replaced his father, Chung Mong-koo, as the head of the world’s fifth largest automaker.
Chung, 49, has been promoted to the top position with the backing of the group’s three main subsidiaries, automotive firms Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation and automotive parts manufacturer Hyundai Mobis Co., the group said in a statement.
The new chairman is the only son of Chung Mong-koo, 82, who had headed Hyundai since 2000 after succeeding his father, the founder of the conglomerate, Chung Ju-yung.
During his inauguration remarks, Chung spoke about his plans for the company’s future with a focus on electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology.
“For the free movement and prosperity of humanity, we will develop the world’s most innovative and reliable autonomous driving technology, offering entirely new mobility experiences,” Chung said.
The new chairman also expressed the company’s commitment to hydrogen fuel-cell technology as well as robotics, urban air mobility (UAM) and smart cities, among others.
The change in the company’s leadership comes at a financially complicated time for both Hyundai and the world’s other major automakers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the first half of the year, Hyundai’s net profit plummeted 52 percent from the previous year to 929.95 billion won ($812 million) mainly due to the decline in global demand and the suspension of production at several of its plants on account of the pandemic.
To reverse this situation, South Korea’s largest carmaker is aiming to sell 1 million electric vehicles worldwide by 2025, targeting 10 percent of the global market share.
In January, Chung, who had been the group’s de facto leader since 2018, announced an investment of more than 100 billion won in research and development of new technologies over the next five years to make Hyundai a benchmark for mobility solutions in the future.