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Hyundai's North American operations have been without a chief designer since the December 2008 departure of Joel Piaskowski, but the Korean automaker has finally announced a successor in Philip Zak, pictured at right with a woman's dress for some reason.
By taking the reins at the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, California, Zak ends a 20-year tenure at General Motors where he was responsible for an endless slew of designs, from the Oldsmobile Bravada to the Chevy Equinox, and was most recently in charge of Saab and Opel design as the General's chief stylist in Europe. Zak's move to Hyundai is only the most recent in a string of shuffles in automotive design that has included shifts at Mazda, Volvo, Ford and BMW, to name just a few. We'll be looking forward to seeing what Zak has in store for Hyundai in his new post. Follow the jump to read the full announcement in Hyundai's press release.

[Source: Hyundai]



IRVINE, Calif., 04/01/2009 Hyundai America Technical Center, Inc. (HATCI) today announced that Phillip Zak has been named chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, Calif. Zak will be responsible for new vehicle and concept design for Hyundai.

"Phillip's strong experience in working across multiple regions and his leadership role on advanced projects was exactly what we were looking for," said C.K. Park, president, HATCI. "We are thrilled to have Phillip Zak as chief designer for Hyundai and continue the strong momentum of our vehicle designs."

Zak has more than 20 years of automotive design experience and most recently served as the design director for General Motors Europe where he was responsible for all Opel and Saab exterior production design work and future strategies. Zak started his career at General Motors in 1988 as a designer sketching new vehicle concepts. During his 20-year career at General Motors he held various positions including lead designer, chief designer and design manager. Throughout his career at General Motors he had design responsibility for numerous models including the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox, 2010 GMC Terrain, 2009 Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell vehicle, 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Program and Pontiac G-6 show and production car. Earlier in his career he held design responsibility for the 2001 Oldsmobile Bravada, 2000 Oldsmobile Aurora, 1999 Oldsmobile Profile show-car and 1995 GM Racing Aurora GTS race car design.

"Phillip Zak is an outstanding addition to the design team at HATCI," said John Krafcik, acting president and chief executive officer, Hyundai Motor America. "We are proud to add such a talented individual to lead the team of dedicated designers at HATCI that will continue to develop innovative vehicles for both the United States and global auto markets."

Zak holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Cleveland Institute of Art and was a recipient of the Gund C.I.A. Traveling Scholarship.


Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Co. has grown into the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group which was ranked as the world's fifth-largest automaker in 2008 and includes over two dozen auto-related subsidiaries and affiliates. Employing more than 75,000 people worldwide, Hyundai Motor posted sales of U.S. $74.9 billion in 2007 on a consolidated-basis and U.S. $32.8 billion on a non-consolidated basis (using the average currency exchange of 929 won per US dollar). Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 6,000 dealerships and showrooms. Further information about Hyundai Motor Co. and its products is available at http://www.hyundai-motor.com.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago

      ...I know there will be a lot of people parting out from GM and Chrysler in the next year or so but for some reason i think its bad PR for any company to hire anyone whos resume has GM as the past employer
        • 6 Years Ago
        are you serious? because someone has GM on their resume, regardless of what amazing work they've done, or what successful projects they've been on, you would regard that as a blemish?

        i'm sorry, but thats plain ignorant.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Joel Piaskowski, Hyundai's former design chief was an ex-GM Design guy. GM's problems are not styling related... Hyundai got good results with their last GM hire so good sense to go for #2
        • 6 Years Ago
        "i think its bad PR for any company to hire anyone whos resume has GM as the past employer"

      • 6 Years Ago
      Sorry guys, read it again, dress guy is the one leaving.

      " Korean automaker has finally announced a successor in Philip Zak, pictured at right with a woman's dress for some reason."
        • 6 Years Ago
        My apologies, you are right. I should read it again :(
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Successor IN Philip Zak"

        Guy with the dress is coming to Hyundai. Not really sure why as his resume is not impressive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With Kia on a roll, this guy has some serious catching up to do. Pretty much every new Kia looks way better than its Hyundai counterpart.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Man with womans dress?
      Perfect match for Hyundai.
      • 6 Years Ago
      ...As opposed to a man's dress?
      • 6 Years Ago
      from GM?

      • 6 Years Ago
      It's his favorite dress, and he got a fabulous deal on it?

        • 6 Years Ago
        he wears it at night, it makes him feel pretty
      • 6 Years Ago
      When I started reading "20 years of GM design", I wondered why anyone would take him. The PR mentions "2005 Chevrolet Cobalt Program and Pontiac G-6" as his latest projects at GM. I do like how the cobalt and G6 exteriors look. Drive, interior not so much.Then further along it says "was most recently in charge of Saab and Opel design as the General's chief stylist in Europe". Opel has some great designs, anyone know which ones he worked on?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The rats are leaving the sinking ship, and the buzzards are circling the carcass. .
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's gotta suck when the Bravada is the high point of your resume (though arguably that is the best looking of that SUV group. GM even liked it so much that they then turned it into both the Buick Ranier and the Saab 9-7x). Hyundai has been on a huge roll with their styling. Time will tell if they go up or down from where they are now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh that's a shame - GM has a lot of ugly vehicles!
      • 6 Years Ago
      The image is plainly a crop. You can't tell in what context he appears in the same shot as that dress. He could in the full shot appear with the actual designer of the dress, or the retailer, or who knows.
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