Vanishing executives could mark a major promotion for the former BMW M boss.
Reports are circulating that, following the departure of some key players within its R&D division, Albert Biermann could be shaping up to be the new chief of R&D at the Hyundai Group, which encompasses its namesake marque, Kia Motors, as well as left-field luxury player Genesis.
Earlier this year, Euisun Chung was installed as the executive vice chairman of the Hyundai Motor Group by his grandfather, Mong-Koo Chung. The new executive vice chairman is said to be the driving force behind what’s being described to Reuters by insiders as a generational change, and could prove critical to reverse the sliding profits & weak sales that have plighted the company this year.
Two R&D vice chairmen, Woong-chul Yang and Moon-sik Kwon, have offered their resignation in order to facilitate Biermann’s ascent to the top R&D position. However, the pair declined to speak to the media as they are not authorised to do so by the company.
Should the move be successful, Biermann will join a handful of non-Korean executives that serve the Hyundai Motor Group. This began with Peter Schreyer, who was inducted as the design boss (and now serves an advisory role to the Group), as well as Luc Donckerwolke, who handles design at Genesis. Following Biermann’s departure from BMW M (and induction at Hyundai), he quickly pulled a couple of other BMW M engineers in Fayez Abdul Rahman and Thomas Schemera. Far from over, the Hyundai Motor Group also inducted Alexander Selipanov from Bugatti, who now works with Donckerwolke at Genesis.
Biermann’s influence at Hyundai has been growing, following great critical success of every product he’s had a hand in. The Kia Stinger, Hyundai i30N, Hyundai Veloster N, and Genesis G70 have all received strong praise for their dynamics from critics, similar to how Hyundai Group’s cars were given high praise following the inclusion of Peter Schreyer’s design talent in its products (widely heralded as the moment the Koreans went mainstream). To us, this signals a new era of dynamic, engaging Korean cars, something that’s been wanted but undelivered for years.