The global pandemic has been a challenging time and many businesses have struggled to adapt to changed markets conditions.
On the contrary, Hyundai Card and Hyundai Capital have strengthened business over the course of the COVID-19 and went so far as to focus on navigating new opportunities for a brighter future. On June 10, Hyundai Capital Services (HCS), global headquarters of Hyundai Capital, held its first-ever virtual “Global CEO Townhall Meeting” with more than 650 employees from the Europe region. This was the first Townhall since the takeover of Sixt Leasing SE in July, 2020 and was organized online as a result of travel being limited due to the pandemic. Participants signed in from Hyundai Capital UK, Hyundai Capital Bank Europe, Hyundai Capital Europe, Hyundai Capital Russia and Sixt Leasing SE for the very first Global CEO hosted meeting. Ted Chung, Vice Chairman & CEO of Hyundai Card·Hyundai Capital·Hyundai Commercial, shared his vision for the company and explained why he thinks digitalization capabilities of his companies will open a new paradigm.
Mr. Chung opened the speech by highlighting the tremendous growth in recent years. In 2020, Hyundai Capital posted a record high $900 million in combined net income. Additionally financial assets of Hyundai Capital global entities combined with HCS rose 9% year on year while the financial asset of Hyundai Capitals global entities increased by a larger margin of 11%. He then went on to explain reasons for having an even more optimistic forecast for the future.
He mentioned HCS’ focus on digitalization and data science. Digitalization has been the most significant pillar of business at HCS and is defined in three parts which are simultaneously evolving; fintech, digitalization of operations, and data science. The company’s engineers have concentrated on developing AI software and the end product is on the brink of its first sales.
“It is very rare for a financial company to be proficient in data science, our AI software is exceptional and we look forward to sharing this with our global offices in the Europe region,” he said.
There is light at the end of the tunnel for the COVID-19 global pandemic, the CEO noted. With the recent increase in countries with high vaccination rates, businesses are anticipating international travel to resume in the near future.
“We are patiently preparing for when we can meet in person and hope to be reunited with you all quickly,” he said.
He also stressed Hyundai Capital has witnessed continuous expansion in its global business. Hyundai Capital America (HCA), for instance, reached new heights in the U.S. market with assets of over $35 billion (as of 2020), moreover HCA’s penetration rate rose by 8 percentage points year on year in 2020.
“We are working towards copying its success in Europe” he said.
In 2020, HCS saw its overseas business grow 19.2 percent compared to a year earlier despite COVID-19 while a combined net income at Hyundai Capital’s global entities jumped 67 percent. On top of global business growth, HCS acquired Sixt Leasing SE, one of the largest car buyers in Europe with 40 years of leasing experience as part of the company’s global expansion efforts. HCS also plans to open a branch in Italy this year.
His speech was followed by a Question & Answer session between him and employees from Europe who joined the Townhall virtually. Topics ranged from business to economy and leadership.
When asked about concerns of a possible global financial crisis and hyperinflation, Mr. Chung said the economies in each region are being monitored closely as each country has different inflation rates and government debt, adding HCS has developed its own risk management system. Simply put, the system is a sophisticated balance of asset management, underwriting and sales knowledge, collaborating to find the best possible solution for specific crisis situations. It is designed to preemptively tackle various crisis scenarios, giving HCS the confidence the company will endure any coming financial crisis and obstacles. He also emphasized that crisis will inevitably come, however, when it does the importance of teamwork and fast decision making are key factors to overcoming any crisis situation.
Addressing the Europe region employees, the CEO shared Hyundai Capital is seeing an increase of “delayed consumption” and “revenge shopping” in the United States and forecasts Germany and other European markets will follow suit. He noted that this would be a time of opportunity in the Europe markets especially in the fleet industry. Traditionally, HCS has excelled in consumer markets hence, expansion and adaptation into the European fleet market will be a new challenge.
On a request to share thoughts on leadership the CEO said, “I believe that diversity is what makes us good leaders and I respect everyone’s strengths. We welcome every kind of leadership and talent.” He also stressed having leaders excel in different fields creates synergy for the entire company. This is reflected in HCS’s corporate culture and at the core of the company’s DNA.
A “Global Rotation Program,” for example, encourages employees to work from one of the 12 different offices around the globe. By offering employees opportunities to “rotate” they are able to learn from the experiences of different work places, cultures and locations.
“Why not work from our office in California? If you are interested in the Asia market, you can apply to work from our office in Beijing or Seoul” he added.
The meeting lasted just over an hour and in closing the CEO shared his plans to visit the Europe region offices assuring participants there would be more time for discussions in person as soon as travel opens up again.
“Thank you for joining us, for staying with us and for dreaming with Hyundai. I look forward to meeting you all soon.”