Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL), the largest passenger car exporter and the second largest manufacturer in India, on Monday, announced the transfer of its current Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer H. S. Lheem to its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. The transfer will be effective from November 5, 2009. Mr. Lheem will be succeeded by H. W. Park, the current Senior Executive Director (Administration and Chief Financial Officer), HMIL.
Mr. Lheem joined Hyundai Motor India Ltd. in December 2005 and it was during his tenure, the company saw the commissioning of its second manufacturing unit at Sriperumbudur in 2008. Under his leadership, HMIL launched many new models such as the Verna, i10 and the i20, which have become successful both in the domestic as well the international markets.
Also, it was during his stewardship, Hyundai set up Kappa engine facility here. Mr. Lheem, sources said, was largely responsible for expanding Hyundai India footprint across the globe, with Made In India Hyundai vehicles present in over 100 countries now. He also laid much emphasis on expanding the dealer network. Today, Hyundai has close to 275 dealers across the country.
Things, however, had not been smooth for Mr. Lheem in the past few months or so as he had to tackle a serious problem on the industrial relations front. The recent labour unrest, which threatened to take an ugly turn, was brought to an end with the help and intervention of the Tamil Nadu Government. Hyundai Motor India had recently announced its decision to shift the production of 3-door i20 cars for Europe markets to its plant in Turkey citing economic considerations. Sources, however, admitted that the ugly face-off with the labour was also a chief factor in the company's decision to shift i20 production for European markets outside Chennai. Nevertheless, Mr. Lheem was primarily responsible for driving the momentum of the Indian subsidiary of the South Korean automobile major.