Hyundai has named a new global head

TOKYO — Hyundai Motor has termed Yong-woo (William) Lee as the new world-wide head of its Genesis premium brand. Lee, who is Hyundai’s executive vice president and advisor for the Americas, will substitute Manfred Fitzgerald, who will leave Genesis after closely four years at the helm.

Lee, a Hyundai veteran with understanding in the U.S. and Brazil, steps into the role at a precarious time for Genesis as it builds out its U.S. sales network and boards on the important rollout of the brand’s first crossovers, must-have add-ons to its nascent three-sedan line up.

Genesis may enlarge its reach by launching in Europe in a couple of years’ time, Hyundai Chief Marketing Officer Cho Won Hong told Automotive News Europe during a fresh interview in Milan.

“William Lee’s U.S. market experience will be mainly beneficial and makes him the perfect counterpart for this position,” Hyundai Motor stated in a press release proclaiming the management shuffle. “North America is a domineering market for the Genesis brand.”

Fitzgerald, whose last day is Oct 31, is leaving to pursue new opportunities, Hyundai stated.

Fitzgerald, who has led Genesis since January 2016, supervised the ramp up of Genesis as an independent brand and the provocative move to establish a standalone retail network in the U.S. Completing that spinoff, which had been estimated, happen in 2022 or thereafter, may now drop to the new leadership.

Lee, 60, begins his new job as Genesis boss on Nov. 1. Hyundai will not hire a successor in his present role as regional executive advisor for the Americas.