Ahmad Hamade, 35
Senior group manager for sales operations, Hyundai Motor America
Big break: Switching from finance to sales — first at Ford and later at Hyundai — to find his calling and rapidly develop his managerial skills
In four years, Ahmad Hamade has received two promotions at Hyundai Motor America and been a finalist three times in the automaker’s annual “Better Idea Generator” initiative.
Hamade attributes his success, in part, to Hyundai’s flexibility in allowing him to switch from the finance department to sales operations, giving him his big break. Hamade made a similar move at his previous employer, Ford Motor Co., which allowed him to realize the role he could play on the sales side.
“That part of my career is when I learned the most,” Hamade said of moving to sales operations after starting out in finance. “I learned what it took to sell and service a vehicle. I really understood the relationship between an OEM and a dealer. And I began to really understand what my role was and how I could improve both sides of the relationship.”
In his senior group manager role at Hyundai, Hamade successfully developed and launched a new dealer performance management platform that consolidates many key performance indicators used by field directors and dealers.
“We launched it earlier this year, and it’s getting a lot of positive feedback from the dealers,” Hamade said. The tool allows dealers to see their entire business in real time. That’s particularly useful now when retailers need to manage tight inventories on a day-to-day basis.
Hamade also took the lead managing the automaker’s dealer performance bonus program, adjusting it during the coronavirus pandemic and the microchip shortage to keep bonus money flowing as conditions changed on the ground.
“It was extremely difficult,” Hamade said. “A lot of OEMs went to flat bonus payouts or put a pause on the program. We kept at it with the message to the dealers that we are being flexible.”
Since joining Hyundai in 2017, Hamade has repeatedly made the final, or “Shark Tank” round, of the automaker’s innovation contest.
He was chosen in 2017 for a remote vehicle-diagnostics concept, and in 2018 for a service application concept. For 2020, his concept of incorporating electric vehicle charging, solar panels and battery storage into a unified home-energy product is being developed, but Hamade can’t yet go into the still-secret details.
“With our current idea in 2020, we are actually in implementation mode,” he said. “Hopefully, it will launch by the fourth quarter of this year.”
— Laurence Iliff