Seoul — Soo II Lee, president and chief operating officer of Hankook Tire America Corp. from 2009-12, is returning to the US for a second stint as president, effective mid-January.
Lee — president and COO of parent Hankook Tire & Technology Ltd. since January 2018 — succeeds Hosung Suh, who is returning to the firm's global headquarters in Seoul to assume an as-yet undisclosed assignment.
Lee, who began his career with Hankook in 1987, will split his time between Hankook America headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, and global headquarters in Seoul.
As the US subsidiary's top executive, Hankook noted, Lee will be tasked with three key areas of focus: competitiveness, innovation and results.
"As a proven leader, Lee brings his wealth of Hankook knowledge and experience back to America," Suh said in a statement.
Hankook said it has developed a strategy to enhance its competitiveness in the North American tire industry that will incorporate innovation and R&D efforts.
Under Suh's leadership, the tire maker opened its first US tire plant in Clarksville, Tennessee, in October 2017.
Hankook derives 24% of its global revenue from sales in the Americas, or roughly $1.48 billion (€1.32 billion) in fiscal 2018.
Lee has held a number of executive positions during his 33 years with the company, including his roles as president and COO of the parent company since 2018.
Prior to that, he held positions as executive vice president and chief marketing officer, and chief corporate management officer and was president and COO of the US subsidiary from 2009-12.