Kia’s UK chief quits

Kia UK’s managing director Paul Williams is leaving the company following a period of indefinite leave. It is not thought that he has a job to go to.

Williams joined Kia in 2002 from Colt Car Company, where he was sales and marketing director. He is a former chief executive of Daihatsu UK and has also worked at Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Peugeot.

The company admitted at the start of August that Williams was on indefinite leave for "personal reasons" but a spokeswoman denied that he had left the company.

His departure has now been confirmed and Williams says: "This was a difficult decision to take but, as Kia seeks to move on in the UK car market towards its ultimate goal of 100,000 sales, I think the time is right for me to move in a new direction and for the company to continue its journey without me."

Kia’s sales have jumped from 13,000 in 2002, when it became a directly controlled subsidiary, to 40,000 last year. But, in line with the rest of the car market, it has struggled to repeat that success this year. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, sales were down almost 4% at the end of July to 21,470.

A Kia spokeswoman says the company has begun looking for a replacement for Williams. Kia general marketing manager Lawrence Hamilton is not thought to be affected by the changes.

Earlier this month, Kia signed Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal as its global brand ambassador. He will appear in the company’s TV and print ads over the next two years.

Nadal has already been used by Kia’s Spanish headquarters for TV ads in his home country.

Latest from Marketing Week

Marketoonist on GDPR

The Marketoonist

Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here