Hyundai Car UK chief quits after Euro group takeover

Hyundai Car UK (HCUK) managing director David Walker is leaving the company after 21 years following its takeover by Hyundai Motor Europe (HME), the Korean car maker’s European division.

Walker, who has been UK managing director for 11 years, is one of three senior members of staff who will not transfer to the new business next month. The others are sales director John Lawrence and HR and operations director Claire Balmforth.

The takeover follows the recent acquisition of HCUK’s parent company RAC by Aviva. It triggered the reversion of HCUK’s operation to Korean control. Hyundai achieved its highest ever sales in the UK in 2004 with a 17 per cent increase, and HME will be hoping to further increase sales to support its ambition of breaking into the top five global car companies by 2010.

Last year, HCUK awarded its £12m advertising account to Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest (VCCP) after a pitch against Abbott Mead Vickers.BBDO (MW February 12, 2004).

The review was overseen by UK marketing director Jim Campbell, who is staying with the company after the takeover. VCCP pitched against Atlas, Banks Hoggins O’Shea/FCB, and incumbent Leagas Delaney to win the business.

HCUK has been in existence since 1994, but International Motors Group, a parallel import company, has been importing Hyundai cars into the UK since 1982. Ownership of the UK franchise passed to Lex Service (now the RAC) with the formation of HCUK in 1994.

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