| BEIJING, June 12
BEIJING, June 12 A General Motors Co
veteran is joining Chery Automobile Co as design
chief, the latest foreign executive to sign on with a Chinese
carmaker as local players become more competitive and gain share
in their home market, the world's largest.
Steve Eum, who left a GM joint venture in China last year as
design director, will join Chery on July 3, according to an
email sent to Chery employees on Monday and seen by Reuters.
"My mandate at Chery is to help take Chery design to the
next level of global sophistication," Eum told Reuters by phone
after his appointment was announced internally.
Eum will replace James Hope, who will continue to work for
Chery, according to two people familiar with the situation. Hope
could not immediately be reached for comment by email.
A Chery spokeswoman did not have an immediate comment.
Eum's appointment comes as Chinese auto brands such as
Chery, Geely, and Great Wall Motor Co Ltd
improve engineering and design and cut into the market share
lead still held by foreign brands in China.
A 50-year-old Korean-American, Eum was an assistant chief
designer at GM's advanced design studio in southern California
from 2000 to 2012 before moving to China as design chief for
SAIC-GM-Wuling Auto (SGMW), the GM joint venture with SAIC Motor
in southern China that sells entry-level cars.
At SGMW, Eum was responsible, among other things, for making
the joint venture's Baojun cars, launched in 2011, sleeker.
Eum, who has also worked for Ford Motor Co and Hyundai
Motor Co, will report to Ray Bierzynski, a Chery
vice president and GM veteran who also worked at SGMW before
joining Chery in 2015.
Domestic automakers have made several prominent hires of
foreign industry veterans, such as Pierre Leclercq, a former BMW
designer, who became Great Wall Motors’ vice president of design
(Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu. Additional reporting by Jake
Spring in Beijing; Editing by Tony Munroe and Mark Potter)