By on January 11, 2021


Kia Motors America is looking for a new number two behind Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia Motors America, because as reported by Automotive News, COO Bill Peffer quit one week into the job.


Sources within Kia said a successor to Peffer has not yet been appointed after his resignation last week. There was no indication where Peffer may be headed, and Kia has not hinted who may be taking his place.

Peffer joined Kia Motors America in July 2017 as vice president of sales operations, according to his profile on LinkedIn. Peffer characterized himself as an accomplished automotive sales and marketing executive with 27 years of wholesale and retail automotive sales, marketing, advertising, financial operations, transaction price management, product development, and overseas national sales experience with both domestic and foreign OEMs. He went on to say he possesses a global perspective of brand marketing and product lifecycle management. An experienced senior leader with the ability to assemble and motivate high-performance organizations and work teams, Peffer has demonstrated his financial and communications acumen in retail and at other automakers.

On January 1, 2021, Peffer started as Kia’s COO, a move the company made along with elevating Russell Wager to vice president of marketing. Wager had been director of marketing operations at Kia since July 2019, and prior to that was vice president of marketing at Mazda North American Operations. According to our source, Kia said the promotions were made to stimulate growth and foster a team-building atmosphere, internally and with their network of suppliers.

Peffer had been president and COO of Balise Motor Sales, a dealership group based in West Springfield, Massachusetts, for nearly three years prior to joining Kia. Before joining Balise, Peffer served as Cadillac’s head of sales and service for a year, and as managing director and CEO of Nissan Australia Pty. Ltd., among other posts in nearly eight years with Nissan Motor Corporation.

Where Peffer will resurface is anyone’s guess, although there is speculation that he may be headed to another automaker based in Southern California.

[Images: Kia]

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11 Comments on “Kia Hotseat Reopens When COO Exits the Building...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Sounds like the preferred job offer arrived a little later than Kia’s. How awkward.

  • avatar

    Those Tellurides are everywhere. Somehow they captured the Tahoe look and presence on a fwd platform. Both Kia and the dealers have to be making some good money.

  • avatar

    Well, the good news is that he lasted longer than I did at my first job. The bad news is that he wasn’t washing dishes at a pizza joint.

  • avatar

    Let me guess: he wasn’t given the key to the executive washroom until he passed probation? That’s a good reason to take/pursue another offer. He’d been at Kia for 3-1/2 years, long enough to know how the company was run. I’ll bet he doesn’t put the Kia COO job on his resume.

  • avatar

    Found one guy that doesn’t like the new logo.

  • avatar

    Kia has notoriously bad relations with its dealers. Here in Los Angeles I bought a Kia from a dealership who told me that they hated being a Kia franchise, not because of the product, but because of how difficult the parent company was. They closed a few months after I had bought the car. Then Galpin motors opened up a Kia dealership here and Galpin is a huge and very successful company, within a year the closed as well, same reasons. It’s a shame because while I really like the product, Kia dealerships tend to be low rent and the salesforce very creepy.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The Kia dealer nearest me is obnoxious, so I deal with the one farther away. They’ve been great for two purchases, some window shopping, and the little bit of service I’ve needed.

      Both dealers are part of separate mega-franchises. I’d avoid the former for any of its brands, not just Kia.

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