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 He has been replaced by Lee Byung-seob, who moves up from his position as head of exterior design.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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hyundai wound up in the bottom 5 in the latest JD Power survey for reliability at the 3-year ownership mark. They obviously need to do something to reverse their steep decline from the top rankings over the past few years.
      • 1 Year Ago
      One step forward and two steps back. That's the Hyundai way.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe its a cultural thing?
        Alex Ellsworth
        • 1 Year Ago
        I would say so, at least partly. In Korea, there is no distinction between the words "accident" and "incident," and the concept of "no-fault accident" does not exist. If you're somehow involved in a bad thing that happens, then you're considered at least partly to blame and must make a sufficient public show of contrition. Also, it reminds me of how a succession of modern South Korean presidents was given hefty prison sentences after leaving office and then pardoned soon after.
      • 1 Year Ago
      " Chung Mong-koo is said to have a reputation for firing then rehiring workers." It seems he enjoys screwing with people's minds.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yep, sounds like a hot head, too. People get so angry that they make a rash decision. This guy sounds like that kinda boss to me.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good for him, glad he got his job back. Clearly he needed another chance given the back story. A co worker of mine was let go and an offer for re-hire came in a month or so, but they wouldn't return his previously accrued paid leave time so he told them no. Like this guy, he had circumstances surrounding his departure that were out of his control. They realized that, but got greedy, and lost a good man.
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