South Korea Earns Hyundai Motor

Last November, Hyundai announced the resignations of research and development president Kwon Moon-sik and two other R&D executives. At that time, it was said that the executives wished to "take responsibility for a series of quality issues" at the Korean automaker. Kwon Moon-sik had only been in the position for a year, but some of the quality issues thought to have caused the resignations included recalls of the Genesis and other sedans around the world, along with the company's much-publicized fuel economy overstatement controversy – both of which dealt with matters that transpired before Moon-sik took his position. In its statement at the time, Hyundai said, "The latest personnel change shows our firm commitment to quality management and reaffirms our will to continuously improve R&D competitiveness."

Three months later, Reuters is reporting that Moon-sik is back with the company, a statement announcing the rehire saying, "Given his expertise, experience and leadership skills, we reinstated president Kwon to enhance quality and R&D capability from scratch." Company chairman Chung Mong-koo is said to have a reputation for firing then rehiring workers, and it's possible this rehire is especially timely because Hyundai will bring its new Sonata to market this year and likely wants its experienced R&D captain at the wheel.

The man who had taken Moon-sik's position has returned to his previous post as head of powertrain development. However, in another surprise resignation, the head of Hyundai's design center, Oh Sug-geun, has left the company for "personal reasons." He has been replaced by Lee Byung-seob, who moves up from his position as head of exterior design.

We have reached out to Hyundai for comment on Kwon Moon-sik's rehiring and will update this story when we learn more.