Hyundai Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, left, talks with Lee Kew-song, Co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, in an event held in Seoul on May 22. Courtesy of Hyundai Motor

Hyundai chief strives to steer focus back to customers

Hyundai Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun shared his vision of steering the automotive group’s focus back to customers in an event held by The Carlyle Group in Seoul earlier this week.

Chung made the comments in a fireside chat with Carlyle Co-CEO Lee Kew-song. He also promised that Hyundai will strengthen efforts for better communication and flexible corporate culture.

I’ve been emphasizing the need to bring the focus back to customers,” Chung said. “Customers have always been our priority, but I question whether we are really thinking of our customers in our services and products. I want everyone at our company to think about how they can make the customer happy.”

The 48-year-old also reflected on the impact made by his grandfather Chung Ju-yung, who founded the Hyundai empire in 1947.

During my grandfather’s times, the whole company got together and thought of ways to make customers happy. I think it is time for us to bring the spirit back. Rather than looking at our competitors, we need to focus on what our customers want.”

Chung also noted fostering a flexible corporate culture is key to bringing change and innovation to the company.

We will give more autonomy to our employees so they can make their own decisions. We are making our utmost effort to improve communication within the organization,” he said.

While talking about leadership style, the legendary Hyundai founder was on the lips of Vice Chairman Chung once again.

My grandfather was a strong leader, with the whole company following a single direction. But today, I try to provide a general direction and discuss ideas altogether. It may take longer, but I think we can find better answers when we work together,” he said.

He also stressed the automotive group’s commitment to quality by saying, “Technology can make driving more convenient, but malfunctions must be minimized. A car cannot reset every time, like a phone or a PC.”