Not far from retirement
The point is, by the time a Korean salaryman reaches a top, non-family, executive job, he may be only four or five years from retirement, so there is not a culture of holding onto leadership jobs for several years, as in the West.
None of this, of course, makes things easier for Dave Zuchowski, whom I know and like. Having worked for Hyundai before winning the top job, I’m sure he went into it with open eyes, knowing the company culture.
I bet he wishes the company would have made some more SUVs for him to sell, because that’s what customers want. But I also bet he’ll land a great new gig soon.
Frank Ahrens is the author of “Seoul Man: A Memoir of Cars, Culture, Crisis, and Unexpected Hilarity Inside a Korean Corporate Titan.”