Skoda chief returns to VW as UK managing director

Volkswagen has promoted Skoda UK chief Chris Craft to run the VW brand in the UK following Paul Willis’ move to Kia.

Craft, a former VW marketer, rejoins the marque as UK managing director after four-and-a-half years in charge of Skoda.

Craft has overseen a strong period of growth at Skoda and won plaudits for the marque’s advertising, notably the award-winning Fabia “cake” ad made by Fallon.

Before joining VW-owned Skoda in 2003 (MW July 31, 2003), Craft held several roles at VW, including head of marketing and director of group service.

Willis has left VW after eight years to join Kia Motors Europe (KME) in the new role of chief operating officer. He will effectively replace KME’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing Jean-Charles Lievens, who retires at the end of March. Willis, who joins Kia on Friday, has also worked at Ford and BMW in addition to a three-month spell as managing director of Rover Cars, which he left in 2000 to join VW (MW February 24, 2000).

KME has also announced that Kwang-Ho Nam is joining the company as president. He takes over from Hyoung-Keun Lee, who has been promoted to a new role at Kia in Korea. Nam joins Kia from Mercedes-Benz Korea, where he was chief operating officer.

The company says the appointments are key to helping Kia achieve its aim of becoming a “major global force” in the automotive industry.

The marque appointed former Toyota marketer Paul Philpott as UK managing director last year.

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