Myung-hun “Mark” Juhn is retiring from his position as chief operating officer of KIA Motors Corporation after 34 years in the automotive industry, 27 of them with Hyundai and Kia.  The announcement came shortly after Kia reported a fourth consecutive record year.

In a letter to Kia’s global distribution network, Juhn emphasised that the decision had not been an easy one.  “My time at Kia was dedicated to raising Kia’s status and I am proud of the many accomplishments that we have made together,” he said.  “Our direction and objectives are firmly in place and I am confident that my successor will work tirelessly to raise our brand image and customer satisfaction.”

Juhn is 61, two years older than the statutory retirement age in Korea. He is replaced by the former president of Hyundai Motor Europe, Yong-hwan Kim.

Juhn began his career in the automotive industry in 1969 in the overseas procurement division of General Motors Korea.  He moved to Hyundai Motor Company in 1977, where he held various positions including president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America between 1997 and 1999.

He moved to Kia in 2000 to take up the position of president of the Middle Eastern region and postponed his retirement to take up the position of head of the international business division and chief operating officer in 2001.