Recently Departed Hyundai Sales Exec Appears Suddenly on Volkswagen Payroll
Earlier this week, former Hyundai executive Derrick Hatami appeared to be a corporate sacrificial lamb — slaughtered by the Korean automaker to appease the angry sales gods. His abrupt departure from the company seemed to be an under-the-rug firing. However, his former employer quickly reached to us to explain Hatami had left on his own accord, wishing him well. While that’s often the boilerplate explanation when an executive is forcibly ousted from a large company, Hyundai wasn’t lying.
Hatami appeared, as if by magic, on Volkswagen of America roster less than 48 hours after news of his exodus broke. The current assumption is that his apparent firing from Hyundai was, in fact, a poaching maneuver undertaken by VW. Otherwise, this man has the most incredible interviewing skills on planet Earth.
Derrick Hatami is now the new executive vice president for sales and marketing for Volkswagen of America, and will be undertaking many of the same tasks he did at Hyundai.
“We are excited to welcome Derrick at Volkswagen of America,” Hinrich Woebcken, CEO for the region, said in the hiring announcement. “His proven record of leadership experience in the automotive industry will serve as an asset as we work towards growth in the U.S. market.”
At Volkswagen, Hatami replaces Mark McNabb, who became CEO of the company’s energy subsidiary Electrify America in February. McNabb will be responsible for the management of VW’s $2 billion investment into the U.S. electrical infrastructure as part of its emission scandal settlement with state and federal regulators. Meanwhile, Hatami will be responsible for setting sales goals, driving product, overseeing marketing efforts, product planning, and establishing aftersales strategy for North America.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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