MUNICH -- Former Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. executive Paul Philpott will be the new chief operating officer of Kia's European operations starting in August.
Philpott, 42, will be responsible for all of Kia's European operations including sales, marketing, and aftersales and will manage relations with the company's manufacturing operations in Zilina, Slovakia, where the Cee'd compact and Sportage SUV are built.
Philpott, an Englishman, will move to Kia's European headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, from England where he is head of Kia Motors U.K. He will report to Kia Europe President Sun-Young Kim.
Philpott took charge of Kia's British operations in February 2007 and reorganized the brand operations on a retail- and dealer-focused strategy.
Philpott began his automotive career with Ford in 1988. After nine years in Ford's U.K. sales and marketing division, he moved to Toyota where he rose to lead the Japanese brand's U.K. sales, marketing, aftersales and logistics operations.
Philpott said: "I believe Kia has the potential to be one of Europe's leading retail brands. We will be entering new segments, revitalizing existing models and bringing a third product to our Slovakia plant."
Kia Europe has been without a chief operating officer for 12 months since former COO Paul Willis, an Irishman, quit to head Volkswagen in Ireland.