Female leadership gains ground in Korea's auto industry

Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - GM Korea, the Korean unit of U.S.-based General Motors, has the largest number of female executives at 17 among carmakers operating here.

The figure compares to none for Hyundai Motor and one for its affiliate Kia Motors - the two companies that claim almost 80 percent of the nation's car market.

"Investing in women is the right thing to do," said GM Korea CEO Sergio Rocha. "We promote them not because they wear skirts, but because of their skills and capabilities."

Over the past 10 years in Korea, GM has seen its number of female workers triple from 300 to 900. Their portion also doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent of their total workforce.

Even though the gender ratio still lags behind those in the United States, Europe and Latin America, Korea shows a clear sign of progress, said the CEO.

"It's not a favor, but the company's obligation," he said.

Women now have more power in car purchases globally. Industry watchers say some 65 percent of men's car choices are decided by wives, daughters or girlfriends nowadays.

With their growing presence in the market, more Korean women are joining the still male-dominant auto industry. And a growing number of them are climbing to leadership positions, especially in import car brands.

Foreign carmakers have been expanding their presence aggressively in recent years. Their combined market share reached 10 percent for the first time this year.

One common factor among them is that their PR or marketing teams are led by female executives who have a global mindset based on their overseas work experience.

BMW Korea's communications officer Joo Yang-ye has driven the company to become the best-selling import car brand for the past three consecutive years.

The Korean unit of Mercedes-Benz has Park Joo-hye and Ye Sung-hee who have roles in product and corporate communications, respectively.

Lee Yeon-kyong of Audi Korea, who became the youngest executive officer at age 33 in 2008, has helped Audi's successful settlement as a premium brand in Korea.

"Import car brands may be one of the first sectors that recognized the beauty of female leadership," said Yoon Dae-sung, executive managing director of the Korea Automobile Imports and Distributors Association. "Their sensitive marketing approaches are essential to appeal to luxury customers."

"Head offices also welcome the growing trend in Korea. Compared to Korean men who are sensitive to hierarchy, women seem more flexible and feel free to communicate," he said.

Korean carmakers are also moving to hire more female executives, but progress is slow.

Kia, which has sought to gain a premium image, last year appointed Chae Yang-sun, former vice president of the French cosmetics brand Lancome, as the company's first female executive officer.

More recently last month, Renault Samsung Motors named Hwang Eun-young, a PR expert, to lead the carmaker's communications team.

She is thought to have earned recognition from the France-based Renault Group when she offered consultations for the struggling Korean unit's recent voluntary retirement program.

"Most female executives work for marketing or PR teams for now. Considering their proven roles, companies need to have them at more diverse positions such as engineering and development," said Yoon of the KAIDA.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys
    AFP monitoring deployment of Chinese seaplanes in Spratlys

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is adopting a wait and see approach amid reports that China will soon deploy seaplanes to further strengthen its maritime claims in the disputed Spratlys. Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala, spokesman for the military and commander of the AFP Civil Relations Service, said they have yet to ascertain the real purpose behind China’s continuing aggressive moves in the region. “We will wait and see before coming up with an official stand,” Kakilala said when …

  • US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations
    US eyes access to Phl bases in 8 locations

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington’s next phase in its Asia “pivot,” deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia “pivot” has already seen US Marines rotating through the …

  • Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions
    Washington bucks China’s aggressive actions

    Short of condemning China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, a senior US military official said Washington does not support any act of coercion and bullying. “We don’t stand for coercion, bullying and aggressiveness,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Mahoney, assistant US military director for  Phl-US Joint Balikatan Exercises 2015. At the sidelines of this year’s joint military exercises’ static aircraft display held at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, Mahoney told a media briefing that …

  • ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’
    ‘Giving Bangsamoro police control is constitutional’

    The proposed grant to the chief minister of the envisioned Bangsamoro region of operational control over police forces in the area is consistent with the Constitution, a senior administration lawmaker said yesterday. It is clear in the proposed BBL that the Bangsamoro police will be part of the Philippine National Police (PNP), while the Bangsamoro Regional Police Board (BRPB) will be part of the National Police Commission (Napolcom) and will carry out Napolcom’s mandate in the region,” he …

  • Noy off to KL for Asean meet
    Noy off to KL for Asean meet

    President Aquino will arrive here this afternoon with Manila hopeful of support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to achieve peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as well as economic prosperity and inclusive growth among the people in the region. Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Jose Eduardo Malaya III said that with respect to the dramatic developments in the South China Sea, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had called for the early …

  • Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food
    Madrid Fusion Manila reignites Pinoy appetite for great food

    After months of preparation and hard work from both the government and private sectors, the future of food is finally here in the country’s capital. Madrid Fusión Manila opened its doors on Friday to an international delegation who eagerly awaited the discussions of some of the most renowned and revered names in the culinary world. Madrid Fusión Manila is a historic gastronomic event marked by talks and exhibitions that showcases Spain and the Philippines’ shared cultural heritage, as well as …

  • Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane
    Family receives execution order, visits Mary Jane

    As Philippine officials continue to plead for a stay in the execution of death convict Mary Jane Veloso, the Indonesian government has sent a notice to her family ordering her execution at an undisclosed date, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Indonesian authorities also allowed Veloso’s family and her lawyers to visit her on Nebu Kambangan execution island. “The Prosecutor gave notice letter to the family of Mary Jane …

  • ‘Pinoys’ cheerful attitude backs tourism campaign’
    ‘Pinoys’ cheerful attitude backs tourism campaign’

    The 2015 World Happiness Report ranking the Philippines as 90th among 158 happiest countries is a validation of the government’s tourism campaign, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” a Palace official said yesterday. The news did not come as a surprise as Filipinos are naturally cheerful, Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. of the Presidential Communications Operations Office said. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options