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Managers queue up for Kia UK managing director role

Kia Motors UK says there has been no shortage of interest in the managing director’s job left vacant by the resignation last month of Paul Williams, but it will not rush into making a decision.

A recruitment company will prepare a shortlist of applicants and headhunted candidates.

UK president and chief executive officer BK Jang, who will conduct the final interviews, wants someone who can live up to Kia’s ambitious growth aspirations – 100,000 sales by 2010. He points to the recent appointment of former VW design boss Peter Schreyer as an example of Kia’s new pull for leading executives, adding: “Dealers will not be disappointed.”

The incoming MD, likely to be in place in early 2007, will be following a fixed growth strategy for the next four years.

Sales will stall this year at around 40,000, behind original plans, due to key product changes including Sedona and Carens. They are budgeted to rise to 55,000 next year, largely on the back of the new C-sector C’eed.

“I do not foresee any change in our strategy. We are comfortable of achieving our growth plans with our new models,” says Jang. He is still looking to grow the retail network to 190, from 150, by the end of the year.

Kia Motors UK has promoted Hamish McCowan from aftersales director to operations director with a remit to oversee every aspect of its operations.

“There are opportunities for us to improve our capability in every aspect,” says Jang.

“Hamish will take an overall view of the company and highlight areas for improvement. It will be good for our future.”

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