CEO, Hyundai Motor North America
Since joining Hyundai Motor Co. in 2019, Jose Muñoz has navigated a maelstrom of unprecedented industrywide issues, including a worldwide pandemic and supply chain problems that have left dealership lots scant.
Under Muñoz's guidance, the automaker has so far managed to weather the storm, with a successful launch of the Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric crossover, the opening of the initial wave of standalone Genesis stores and increased market share for both brands against tough competition.
But Muñoz, who is CEO of Hyundai Motor North America and Hyundai Motor America as well as global COO of Hyundai Motor Co., does not take sole credit for the company's accomplishments. He instead attributes it to a cohesive, dedicated and engaged executive team — many of them women and ethnic minorities — and an inclusive work culture that celebrates everyone.
"We embrace all cultures, all ethnicities, all groups," Muñoz told Automotive News, noting that positive feedback from employees gives him "very strong personal satisfaction."
In three years, Muñoz has filled his executive board with three black C-suite leaders, three female C-suite leaders and one Hispanic COO.
Recently, Muñoz promoted former Hyundai sales chief Randy Parker to CEO of Hyundai Motor America, making him the second Black CEO of an automaker's operations in the U.S. in more than a century.
The company also facilitates in-house committees dedicated to supporting African-American, Hispanic, Asian, female, millennial, disabled, veteran and LGBTQ employees.
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which fights for LGBTQ rights, gave a nod to Hyundai's efforts by naming it a top place to work in 2022, marking the sixth year it's received the accolade. Hyundai also achieved a perfect score of 100 on the foundation's 2022 Corporate Equality Index.
Muñoz encourages executives to mentor younger employees and help develop them into leaders. This has been an especially impactful tactic for moving women up the ranks, something he values.
"My objective is to ensure the best team, and I have found during my career, a lot of the most talented executives were female executives," Muñoz said, adding that he's spent much of his life surrounded by women, including his mom, sisters, wife and daughters.
And despite old-school depictions of car shopping, women are a dominating force when it comes to car buying. "Having executives who represent the most important decision makers is very important."
— Carly Schaffner