Luc Donckerwolke, a former Bentley design chief, has returned to Hyundai Motor Group after leaving the Korean employer for health reasons as its first chief creative officer (CCO) in charge of brand managing luxury car marque Genesis and EVs.
Hyundai Motor Group announced on Monday that it has appointed Donckerwolke as the newly-created CCO post and will resume his career as executive vice president. The conglomerate created the new position with an aim to strengthen its brand competitiveness. Donckerwolke will be responsible for design-based communications about topics such as Genesis brand that is expected to expand market presence in Europe, battery electric vehicle lineup brand IONIQ, and environmentally-friendly mobility such as fuel cell vehicles, the group said.
The CCO will also carry out various communications about design topics by seeking exchanges with renowned designers and related scholars in the academia and carrying out advanced research on future mobility design.
Donckerwolke – former Bentley design boss – joined Hyundai Motor Group in January 2016 and oversaw design for Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, and Genesis brands as chief design officer. He resigned in March this year to focus on his health.
“It is with great honor and pride that I start this second chapter at Hyundai Motor Group to consolidate creativity,” Donckerwolke said in a statement. “In collaboration with design teams, I will communicate diversity and richness of Group brands’ design, which is not only technologically dynamic but also customer-centric.”
Donckerwolke was the talk of the town in 2016 when he was recruited to work for Hyundai Motor Group as the move came at a time when the group’s chairman Chung Euisun had been focusing on enhancing design capacity.
Hyundai Motor Group said that Donckerwolke “is considered a perfect fit for the new role of CCO as he has been involved in establishing the current design direction and strategy of Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.”
Lee Sang-yup, senior vice president and head of Hyundai Global Design Center and Genesis Global Design, will continue to head design for Hyundai and Genesis brands, while Karim Habib, senior vice president and head of Kia Global Design, will continue to lead Kia brand design.
Hyundai Motor Group, meanwhile, has been focusing on strengthening core capacity by inviting top global experts to work for the conglomerate.
It recruited Albert Biermann, a German national, as head of research and development (R&D) division at Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors, and Jose Munoz, former chief performance officer for Nissan Motor Corporation and chairman of Nissan China, as global chief operating officer. Martin Zeilinger, former Daimler Trucks engineer, joined as executive vice president and head of commercial vehicle, and former PSA powertrain expert Alain Raposo as executive vice president in charge of its powertrain tech unit.
By Lee Eun-joo