ATLANTA—Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. has promoted Samuel Choi, currently head of Kumho Mexico, to be CEO of Kumho Tire USA Inc., succeeding Hai Eok "Harry" Choi, who is resigning from that position in order to "pursue new career opportunities."
This transition comes as a part of a global shift in key executive management roles geared to positively reinforce the company for the present and future, Kumho said. Kumho Tire Co. Ltd. Chairman Jong Ho Kim also has resigned from his position and the company will be naming his successor once decided.
The moves also comes just five months after China's Qingdao Doublestar Group acquired a 45 percent ownership stake in Kumho.
Samuel Choi began his career with Kumho Tire more than 28 years ago and has held various management positions including sales planning leadership roles in the Middle East and Europe with a specific concentration on the French market.
"I am looking forward to making a positive impact on Kumho's brand presence in the U.S.," Samual Choi said.
"Our direction and core principles of consistency, stability, and dependability will still continue along with a mission to substantially build profit and enhance our ability to effectively manage our focus on the quality and safety of our products, services, and solutions," he said.
Harry Choi was named president and CEO of Kumho Tire USA in January 2013, succeeding J.B. Kim.
Mr. Choi brought 20-plus years of experience with Kumho Tire to the U.S. job, with a background in both sales and marketing leadership positions in South Korea, Europe and Latin America, the company said at that time.
During Mr. Choi's nearly six years with Kumho Tire USA, the company has gone through considerable changes, including:
- Being acquired by China's Qingdao Doublestar Group;
- Moving its headquarters to Atlanta from California;
- Opening the plant in Macon, Ga., that had been postponed for six years after the initial groundbreaking in 2008.
North America accounts for nearly 25 percent of Kumho Tire's global sales, according to the firm's fiscal 2018 third quarter results, or roughly $585 million on an annualized basis.
Kumho did not elaborate on Harry Choi's plans.