Hyundai brings Toyota's Michael O'Brien to head U.S. product planning

Hyundai Motor America can officially stick another feather in its cap. The company has successfully managed to woo Mike O'Brien from the clutches of Toyota and back onto the Korean automaker's team. O'Brien worked at Hyundai for a full 14 years as a product planner before jumping ship and heading over to Toyota as a corporate manager. Now he's back, and will be filling the role of vice president of product and corporate planning under the Hyundai flag.
So what does that mean for future Hyundai products? Any hypotheses we throw out now would be little more than guesses, but according to the press release, O'Brien is a car guy first and foremost and spends his off-time buzzing around in a decommissioned French fighter jet. Here's hoping some of that need for speed translates into a few more aggressive pieces of machinery from Hyundai. Clear the jump for the press release.

[Source: Hyundai]

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Hyundai Taps Mike O'Brien to Head Product and Corporate Planning

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., June 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Hyundai Motor America today announced that Michael J. O'Brien will return to the Hyundai team as vice president of product and corporate planning. O'Brien has spent the last 14 years at Toyota Motor Sales as a corporate manager within the corporate planning division. Prior to this, he worked at Hyundai Motor America from 1987 to 1996 in key product planning, parts and marketing roles, including managing Hyundai's ProRally motorsports program. In his new position, O'Brien will guide the continued development and expansion of Hyundai's model lineup and also lead business planning and corporate strategy efforts. He will report to President and CEO John Krafcik.

"It's great to have Mike O'Brien back on the Hyundai team," said Krafcik. "Mike's a real car guy with strong technical credentials, yet he's also a smart and passionate business leader. That's a rare skill set, and we're delighted to have Mike leading our product and strategic functions at Hyundai Motor America."
In addition to his experience at Toyota and Hyundai, O'Brien has held key positions in marketing, product planning and field operations with Nissan Motor Corporation and Ford Motor Company.
O'Brien earned his Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and business administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is an avid recreational pilot, currently flying a restored French fighter jet in various exhibitions on the West Coast.

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