Philpott hands Toyota boss the reins to Kia marketing

Kia Motors (UK) has appointed Toyota marketer Simon Hetherington as its first marketing director. He is part of a new management team being put together by managing director Paul Philpott, who joined the Korean marque from Toyota earlier this year.

Hetherington was general manager of vehicle marketing at Toyota GB, and joins Kia along with Yaser Shabsogh, who becomes sales director. Shabsogh was previously director of dealer operations at Ford of Britain.

Both Hetherington and Shabsogh, who join the company next month, will have a place on the Kia board and will report to Philpott.

Philpott says: “We now have the ideal team in place to build this brand and take it in the direction we want to go.”

Philpott resigned as commercial director of Toyota GB in January, as exclusively revealed on marketingweek. He joined Kia, which has ambitious plans for expansion in Western Europe, in February with a brief to boost the company’s sales. Kia sold 35,814 cars in the UK last year.

He told Marketing Week at the time that one of his main priorities was to build the Kia brand. “If we can get the desire into the brand we can grow even more quickly [than the growth he oversaw at Toyota],” he said. “That’s the challenge for me personally. The development of the Kia brand from pretty much a blank sheet of paper is one of my primary tasks for the next three years.”

Kia’s former top marketer Lawrence Hamilton will remain in his role of general manager of marketing and report to Hetherington.

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