Albert Biermann, the former BMW M division man in charge of the Kia Stinger and the Hyundai N high-performance sub-brand, has been reassigned within the group of companies and is now the group head of development, according to Reuters. Biermann will replace Yang Woong-chul and Kwon Moon-sik to become Hyundai’s first foreign head of research and development.

This comes as part of a group-wide reshuffle, which sees a total of 17 top executives reassigned within the group, a move which follows the promotion of Euisun Chung to executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor. His father, Mong-Koo Chung, remains chairman of the group. The reshuffling comes as the automotive division fights to reverse the downturn in profits due to US recalls and weak sales in US and China, the report added.

Biermann is one of several foreign executives brought into the traditionally Korean-dominated group by executive vice-chairman Chung. In October, former BMW executive Thomas Schemera was brought in to lead product planning for autonomous cars, while former Bentley design chief Luc Donckerwolke was appointed to oversee design at Hyundai and Kia, said the Reuters report.

The report also notes that with Chung’s promotion, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor, was reassigned away from the automaker, and is now vice-chairman of the group’s steel production affiliate, Hyundai Steel, and that could suggest that Chung senior’s grip on leadership may be weakening. The reshuffle was “part of a generational change that Chung (junior) is pushing for,” a source familiar with the matter told the news agency.

Hyundai shares rose by as much as 9% as a result, while shares in affiliates such as Hyundai Mobis, Hyundai Wia and Hyundai Glovis also improved. Analysts said that most of the share price rise could be attributed to the leadership changes, and noted in particular that the younger Chung was making progress in his restructuring plans after an earlier effort was scrapped due to opposition from US hedge fund, Elliot.