Hyundai Motor Group has a new chairman – Euisun Chung. Euisun, 49, formally takes over the role previously held by his octogenarian father, Mong-Koo Chung, who is now the honorary chairman of South Korea’s second largest conglomerate. This is the first generational handover in 20 years.

During his inauguration, Euisun said “I feel privileged, yet also a sense of great responsibility for opening a new chapter of Hyundai Motor Group.” Under his stewardship, the company will put emphasis on mobility solutions that are tailored to customer lifestyles.

Euisun also plans to grow market leadership in the fields of autonomous driving, electrification, hydrogen fuel cell, robotics, smart city, and urban air mobility (flying vehicles). “These groundbreaking advancements will offer a higher plane of life experiences for humanity,” he added.

Internally, the group will adopt a more flexible work culture, much like tech companies in the Silicon Valley. It also plans to establish a healthier corporate culture by empowering its employees and encouraging horizontal communication.

Euisun facilitated the hiring of Peter Schreyer (pictured) as Kia’s design director in 2006

“If each and every employee thinks of oneself as a pioneer, and channel that positive energy into our growth and that of our future generations, I am certain we will seize fresh opportunities out of crises. I will foster a company culture that respects communication and autonomy. I will help cultivate a creative work environment, where talents are respected and realised to the fullest,” he said.

Prior to this, Euisun Chung served as the group’s executive vice chairman for two years. His past achievements include the successful turnaround of Kia Motors as its president, steering both the Kia and Hyundai brand away from financial ruin amid the global financial crises. He also launched the Genesis luxury brand, and hired renowned Audi designer Peter Schreyer.

Euisun has big shoes to fill, too. His father, who has just been inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, was responsible for transforming the two Korean car brands at the turn of the century, when Kia and Hyundai were widely criticised for making poor quality vehicles. You remember their cars from that era very well, don’t you?