Hyundai Might Remove Albert Biermann From Head R&D Role: Report
Rumors of a proposed reshuffle involve some big names for the company.
Reports from The Korea Times indicate that the Hyundai Motor Group could be considering a shake-up of some of its executive positions, with a decision expected to be handed down by the end of the week. The shift comes as the group's brands hope to make further strides into the "mobility" market, according to sources.
Hyundai Motor Group, comprised of Hyundai itself, as well as the Kia and Genesis brands, is contemplating the replacement of two of its most prominent executives, both based overseas. Albert Biermann, president of Hyundai-Kia's R&D division, and Peter Schreyer, president and head of design management at Hyundai, could both be looking for new roles shortly.
Biermann has been a driving force in many programs that have delivered Hyundai and Kia into a new era. The former head of BMW's M department joined the company in 2015, going on to work on vaunted projects such as the Kia Stinger and Hyundai's much-loved performance-focused N division.
Biermann's work with the N division has been particularly transformative for the brand. Once upon a time, Hyundai was known almost solely for building affordable grocery-getters. Now, the brand has a cavalcade of sporting models, receiving great reviews and putting it into serious competition with long-established rivals like Honda and Volkswagen.
Schreyer has had a longer innings, joining the company back in 2006 having formerly worked as a designer for Audi and Volkswagen. The design head has been credited with reimagining Kia's brand aesthetic, and the "tiger nose" grille in particular, which was long a sore point on many Kia designs. Schreyer's hand guided the design of many new vehicles across the group, including the Hyundai i30, Kia K5 sedan, and the Genesis G90.
With Hyundai and its related companies currently delivering some incredibly sharp designs to market, and slaying at auto shows, it may come as a surprise that a shake-up is on the cards. A source quoted by the Korea Times indicated that it's part of a broader corporate move into the future, stating that "Hyundai Motor Group is highly inclined to appoint new faces at a time when the group is trying to transform itself into a mobility maker and not just an automaker."
Whatever a "mobility maker" is, there will be many that hope Hyundai, Kia and Genesis continue their strong run of form in the coming years. The people want nice, attractive cars, and thus far, the Hyundai Motor Group has delivered. Time will tell if that trend continues. In the meantime, expect Hyundai to announce a decision by Friday.
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