Another top talent is heading to Korea.
This is Karim Habib. If you've never heard of him, you've definitely seen some of the cars he's designed for the likes of BMW, Mercedes, and Infiniti. Now he's heading to South Korea to take up the reins as chief designer at Kia.
As senior vice president and head of the Kia Design Center, Habib will be responsible for the design of every new vehicle to come from the Korean automaker. He has big shoes to fill, taking over from Peter Schreyer and reporting to Luc Donckerwolke. And fortunately he has the expertise and proven track record to bring to the job.
The Canadian-Lebanese designer graduated from McGill University in Montreal and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena before starting work at BMW. He worked his way up the ranks in the Bavarian automaker's design studios, briefly leaving for Daimler before returning as BMW's chief exterior designer and then overall design director in 2012. For the past couple of years he's been running Infiniti's design department.
Habib is the latest in a long string of top talents that the Hyundai group has picked up (directly or indirectly) from its German rivals – designers especially. His predecessor Peter Schreyer (who recently stepped back as a consultant) designed the original Audi TT and Volkswagen New Beetle, and his boss Luc Donckerwolke penned a string of Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Audis, Seats, and Skodas also for the Volkswagen Group. Albert Biermann and Thomas Schemera brought expertise from BMW M GmbH to direct Hyundai's N division, and Manfred Fitzgerald worked for VW's Lamborghini division before heading up the Genesis brand.