SHANGHAI -- China's Zeekr brand has hired a former Lexus executive to helm its operations in Europe, as the electric-vehicle maker owned by Geely plans to enter the market later this year.
Spiros Fotinos, who spent 24 years with Toyota Motor and led the brand management of Lexus globally, joined Zeekr in September as CEO of Zeekr Europe to oversee the brand's operation in the region, a memo seen by Reuters showed. He was head of Lexus Europe from December 2019 until September 2022.
A Zeekr representative confirmed the appointment of Fotinos, and on his LinkedIn page he is listed as a vice president at Zeekr, based in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Fotinos was named an Automotive News Europe Rising Star in 2012, when he was head of marketing, sales planning and logistics at Toyota Spain.
The previously unreported move underscores Zeekr's efforts to establish a foothold in the premium EV segment in the home markets of BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi.
Zeekr on Wednesday said it planned to offer the SUV-styled Zeekr X and its Zeekr 001 EV sedan in Western Europe. Zeekr previously said it would start delivering in Europe in the fourth quarter of this year.
Zeekr CEO Andy An said then the company would provide more details on its strategy for overseas sales at the Shanghai auto show, scheduled for April 18-27. It aims to sell 140,000 Zeekr cars this year, doubling the figure in 2022, An added.