Kia Motors has named two new top managers for its Frankfurt, Germany-based European unit which oversees marketing and retailing, research and development and local production at its new plant in Slovakia.

Kwang-Ho Nam is now president of Kia Motors Europe while Paul Willis has taken up the newly created role of chief operating officer (COO).

Nam has extensive marketing, sales and finance experience having held several senior roles in the Hyundai-Kia organisation in Korea, the USA, China and Europe. The 53-year old South Korean native was most recently COO of Mercedes-Benz Korea. He took over from former KME president Hyoung-Keun Lee who has been promoted to a new role within the Kia global organisation.

Following last November's announcement that KME's senior vice president of sales and marketing, Jean-Charles Lievens, would retire on 31 March, KME recruited Paul Willis as COO, effective 1 February.

He joins from Volkswagen Group UK where he held several senior positions, including brand director, since 2000. Prior to joining VW, the Irish national had gained an in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry as a senior manager with Ford and Toyota, followed by director level positions with Mazda and BMW units in the UK.

"These key strategic appointments are part of KMC's 'Vision 2010' plan to become a major global force in the automotive world by the end of the decade, with an annual capacity to build 2.5m vehicles annually (including 1m outside Korea) and achieve sales of 600,000 units across western and eastern Europe each year," Kia Motors said in a statement.