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Hyundai Motor names former Nissan executive as COO

Jose Munoz hired to turn around North and Latin American operations

South Korea's Hyundai Motor has asked a longtime Nissan executive to help it clarify what its problems are in the Americas and to come up with measures to improve earnings.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor has named Jose Munoz, a former executive at Nissan Motor, as chief operating officer, assigning him the task of reigniting North American sales.

Munoz, who stepped down as Nissan's chief performance officer in January, will become Hyundai's COO on May 1.

Hyundai's operating profit has fallen in each of the past six years, largely due to flagging sales in the U.S. and China.

Nissan's management has been in turmoil at least since November when former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested by Japanese police as his private jet landed at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. The crisis has triggered an exodus of senior talent from Nissan and is impacting executive appointments at automakers in other countries.

Munoz's responsibilities at Nissan included planning strategies for China and other priority markets. In addition to COO, Munoz is expected to oversee Hyundai's North and Latin American operations.

Jose Munoz, who left Nissan Motor after the Japanese automaker became embroiled in the Carlos Ghosn scandal, is being asked by Hyundai Motor to help improve employee morale.   © Reuters

Hyundai apparently expects Munoz to clarify the company's problems in the Americas and come up with measures to improve earnings.

Munoz has been working in the auto industry for three decades. A Hyundai representative said he will also be called on to help improve employee morale at the South Korean automaker.

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