By on June 8, 2017

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

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.

LinkedIn Derrick Hatami - Image: Derrick Hatami LinkedIn

[Image: Volkswagen]

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11 Comments on “Recently Departed Hyundai Sales Exec Appears Suddenly on Volkswagen Payroll...”

  • avatar

    Definitely more to this story. Hires at this level don’t happen this fast. Even if they “will it” there is background screening and typically at this level, it is a much deeper background investigation that goes far beyond, fill out this form and we’ll check your criminal 7 year history and pull your credit report.

    • 0 avatar

      Pretty evident that VW poached Hatami from Hyundai.

      A good move on his part; VW is further along in renewing/expanding its crossover lineup – so sales growth should be easier to achieve in the near future.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Where’s the mystery? He probably interviewed months ago, quit Hyundai the other day, and started at VW today.

    Good luck to him.

  • avatar

    I find VW’s Electrify America story far more engaging. Does this have EV implications from the point of public charging stations?

  • avatar

    if i was close to a CEO who got fired, id be polishing up my resume and handing it out as well. seems like he did, VW did the vetting and okeyed it.

    when youre up that high at corporate ANYWHERE and land another job with a competing firm, SOP is for them to let you go immediately. even if you walked in and gave “2 week notice”

    they dont want you there for another 2 weeks. they want you out NOW. turn in ID, new door codes, new keys, passwords, lock out email, etc.

    why would kmart want to keep a store manager around for 2 weeks who was going to walmart?

  • avatar

    Come on, Walmart has low standards, but they are not THAT low!

    All kidding aside, your point is well taken. This company jumping still happens quite frequently in high tech, but not as often as it did in the roaring ’90’s.

  • avatar

    This strikes me as a career limiting move.

  • avatar

    Nothing career-limiting about it…if you backed the wrong horse and were too closely aligned with the outgoing CEO, you NEED to have a Plan-B and get somewhere to land in case the new CEO doesn’t like you.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    And what’s more, that Hyundai contacted you to correct the story about their former employee speaks volumes about the situation, and the parties involved. Way to go Hyundai! Good for you Volkswagen. As a car enthusiast, I look forward to your successes.

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