Paul Philpott, former chief operating officer at Kia Motors Europe has taken up his new role as the first non-Korean president and CEO at any Kia subsidiary in Europe.
Philpott, 45, was managing director at Kia Motors (UK) Limited from 2007 until he moved to Frankfurt in 2009 and returns to the Weybridge base to head up the UK and Ireland operations.
The move comes as part of Kia's plan to strengthen its global representation and management in individual markets to further develop the brand's global activities.
During his time at Kia Motors Europe, Philpott has led the company through a period of significant expansion and the launch of the innovative and still industry-leading seven year warranty as well as a product blitz covering most of the new car market's main sectors that has seen Kia establish itself as Europe's fastest growing car brand.
Brandon Yea, president of Kia Motors Europe, said: "The Kia brand is now Europe's fastest growing thanks to Paul Philpott and he knows very well that we are determined to strengthen local management at all our subsidiary companies in order to become a truly global automotive organisation.
"Paul brings specific local expertise to a role that we have previously filled from headquarters in Korea and this is the right time - in our best performing market in Europe - to change our strategic focus.”
Philpott said: "I am truly excited by the task I have been asked to undertake and am very happy to be moving back and to have the chance to work again with an excellent team and some of the best dealers in Europe.
“With Michael Cole and everyone at Weybridge I look forward to taking Kia right into the top rank of quality volume manufacturers in the UK and helping to ensure our dealers and customers will have an ever-improving experience with Kia.”
Philpott was appointed marketing director in 1999 and in 2003 became commercial director with responsibility for all of Toyota's commercial operations in the UK - sales, marketing, aftersales and logistics before moving to Kia.