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]


PRESS RELEASE


HYUNDAI AMERICA TECHNICAL CENTER NAMES PHILLIP ZAK CHIEF DESIGNER


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.

HYUNDAI MOTOR CO.

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.