Kia announces promotions with 20th anniversary

Contributed report

January 9, 2014

With 2014 marking Kia Motors’ 20th anniversary in the U.S., Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG) and Kia Motors America (KMA) on Monday announced several promotions to support the growing needs of both organizations as the brand’s product portfolio, customer base and units in operation continue to expand.

At KMMG, Randy Jackson has been named senior vice president, human resources and administration, and Stuart Countess has been promoted to vice president, quality sub-division. At KMA, Tim Chaney has been promoted to vice president of marketing communications and Orth Hedrick is now vice president, product planning.

“Following a year which saw the arrival of seven all new or significantly redesigned vehicles – including updated versions of the U.S.-built Optima and Sorento – Randy, Stuart, Tim and Orth have and will continue to play important roles in the growth and maturation of the Kia brand and their promotions are well-deserved,” said Byung Mo Ahn, group president and CEO of KMA and KMMG.

Jackson joined KMMG in 2007 as the first American hired at the plant. Since his arrival, KMMG has hired more than 3,000 team members and launched three shifts. Jackson led the effort to cultivate the “Kia Way” philosophy, which emphasizes a “one-system, one-team” approach based on trust, mutual respect and effective two-way communication.

Countess, who joined KMMG in 2008, now oversees overall vehicle quality as well as supplier quality, process quality, customer satisfaction, warranty and ISO/TS certifications for Business Management Systems.

Chaney, who has more than 28 years of automotive experience and joined KMA in April 2001, will continue to oversee and execute marketing communications strategies as before, while concentrating on continued efforts for brand growth and familiarity, product awareness and purchase consideration. He has played a key role in a number of high-profile initiatives, including Kia’s position as the “Official Automotive Partner” of the NBA and LPGA, and will continue to report to Michael Sprague, KMA’s executive vice president of marketing and communications.

Hedrick, who also has more than 28 years of automotive experience, will continue to oversee current and future product portfolios in the U.S. Hedrick joined KMA in October 2009 as director of product planning and has overseen the development of more than a dozen new vehicles, including the award-winning Optima midsize sedan, the totally transformed second-generation Soul and the upcoming K900 flagship rear-wheel-drive sedan.

In addition to the executive-level appointments, KMMG’s James Watson also received a promotion to director, production sub-division. Watson joined KMMG in 2008 and is now responsible for overseeing vehicle production and plant maintenance.