Women Take Auto Industry by Storm
Women Take Auto Industry by Storm
  • Kim So-jung Women''s News reporter / Trans by Kim
  • 승인 2014.01.10 15:20
  • 수정 2014-01-13 09:11
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Chae Yang-seon, assistant managing director at Kia motors, Noh Sun-hee, PR director at Ford Korea, Mary Barra, CEO of GM, and Britta Seeger, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Korea (clockwise). (c) Womens News
Chae Yang-seon, assistant managing director at Kia motors, Noh Sun-hee, PR director at Ford Korea, Mary Barra, CEO of GM, and Britta Seeger, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Korea (clockwise). (c) Women's News

Along with the rise of powerful women in all sectors, the auto industry is also welcoming more women executives. 

As of Jan. 3rd, Hyundai Motors and Kia Motors each has one female executive on the board. Choi Myunh-hwa is Hyundai's managing director, and Chae Yang-seon is Kia's assistant managing director. 

Hyundai Motors announced their executive promotions on Dec. 27. Two of the new execs were women, making total number of Hyundai's female executives 6 out of 1,000.

The reason behind such slow but steady rise of women executives in this organization with a male-dominant culture was that women were simply excellent at their jobs and showed much potential going forward. Hyundai has welcomed its first female executive back in 2010.

Out of GM Korea's 164 board members, 6 are women. Lee Kyoung-ae, managing director who joined the company in 2008, has been in charge of the marketing of Chevrolet in Korea since 2011. 

The company has about 850 female office workers, making up 17% of the entire white-collar body (4,993). Women's Council, an internal organization established in 2005 has been involved in all stages of production from planning and development to brand marketing. A good example of what the Women's Council does for the company is the success of Chevrolet Spark, which sold 40% of its vehicles to female consumers. The Council played a crucial role in brainstorming and naming when they newly released the 'Monaco Pink' color. 

Meanwhile, GM HQ hired Mary Barra, the former SVP, as the new CEO last December, grabbing many market watchers' attention. She began her career at GM as an intern in 1980 and became the CEO of the company after 33 years. She is the first female CEO of a global auto manufacturer, and the US media welcomed the news with phrases like "the breaking glass ceiling" and "an unconventional move."

Mercedes-Benz Korea is also under the leadership of a female CEO. Britta Seeger who became the new head of the company in last March is the one and only female CEO in Korea's auto industry. She's also a mother of 11-year old triplets. 

Other names on the list of rising female executives include Bang Sil, head of marketing at Volkswagen Korea, director Joo Yang-yea of BMW Korea, and director Noh Sun-hee of Ford Korea.

One industry insider said, "the recent trend in automobile manufacturing where design and other elements are viewed as important as a car's performance naturally calls for more women on board," adding "the fact that our society now welcomes more women in key positions seems to have helped supporting more women to become executives."


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