Yang’s role at Hyundai (and Kia) was mostly day-to-day operations since he took the job in 2009. In 2005, he helped the company gain record sales when he served as India’s sales head, according to the Reuters report. Reports suggest that executives Kim Choong-hu and Kim Seung-tack will split Yang's duties moving forward. Co-CEO and Chairman Chung Mong-koo is credited with much of the automaker’s success by raising quality standards through infusing the company with an iron-fisted, military-like culture. Hyundai shares have increased around 21 percent this year, and the new Elantra and Sonata have taken market share from the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry respectively in the US.
Some analysts see the move as a way to raise Hyundai’s overseas sales and profile. “With overseas sales and production growing, Hyundai needs a control tower for its overseas business,” Ko Tae-bong, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities, told Reuters. With the macroeconomic uncertainty, it is also difficult for a single person to oversee both domestic and overseas business.”