By Jhoo Dong-chan
BMW Korea said Wednesday that the company's President and CEO Kim Hyo-joon will be promoted to chairman while BMW Malaysia Management Director and CEO Han Sang-yun will take over from Kim.
According to the company, Kim will take up the chairman's post as of Jan. 1, while Han will succeed Kim as CEO from March 1.
"I am pleased to announce that we appointed Kim as a representative director chairman, and Han as the new president for BMW Korea," BMW Group Asia, Pacific and South Africa Region Senior Vice President Hendrik von Kuenheim said.
"Kim will continuously assume responsibility for representing the Korean subsidiary of BMW Group and Han will take charge of overall business operations. BMW Group Korea is now set to embark on its management succession process."
"BMW Korea has enjoyed a significant sales growth under Kim's leadership for more than 15 years. He is a symbolic figure not only for BMW Korea but also for the nation's foreign auto brand market. The German headquarters' decision to promote Kim to chairman demonstrates their confidence in Kim's leadership," a BMW Korea official said.
If Kim is promoted to chairman, he will be the first Korean chairman in the nation's foreign business circle.
In September 2000, BMW Korea appointed Kim as its President and CEO, and he has since led the German auto brand's explosive growth in sales here.
BMW Korea is said to have not only enjoyed a remarkable sales growth but also actively participated in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities under Kim's 17-year leadership.
It invested a total of 77 billion won (62 million euro) to build the BMW Driving Center in Incheon, August 2014. BMW Korea said it created about 100 jobs and it has since received more than 500,000 visitors until August 2017. It is also the German premium automaker's third driving center in the world, and first one in the Asian region.
BMW Korea sold 6,827 cars last month, outperforming its long-time rival Mercedes-Benz Korea in monthly sales for the first time in six months. Mercedes-Benz Korea sold 6,296 cars.