Incoming Bentley boss quits for US Kia job

Bentley Motors is looking for a global marketing chief after the unexpected resignation of Len Hunt, three weeks before he was due to start the job.

Hunt, who was previously head of Volkswagen’s North American operations, was unveiled as Bentley’s global sales and marketing director last month (MW September 22). He was due to start on November 1, but has instead taken over as chief executive of Kia Motors America following the departure of Peter Butterfield.

Hunt was due to replace Adrian Hallmark, who is moving to head Volkswagen’s American operation. A Bentley spokeswoman confirms the company has received Hunt’s resignation, but says it will not affect Hallmark’s move. She adds that the search has already started for a replacement.

Sources say Hallmark has been promoted to boost profits at Volkswagen’s struggling US operation. Volkswagen chief executive Bernd Pischetsrieder said in July that he does not expect the company to break even in North America next year.

Volkswagen has been struggling to sell its new Jetta model in the US this year, with some experts claiming it did not spend heavily enough on advertising.

In contrast, Kia has been performing well in America. Butterfield arrived in late 2001, and sales grew from 223,727 that year to 270,055

in 2004. However, sources say Kia’s Korean bosses were unhappy with Butterfield trying to take full credit for the company’s success in the US.

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