Michael Cole has been at Kia in the UK since August 2009 and has led the wholly-owned subsidiary to record sales with the company breaking its existing sales record from 2010 during October, when it reached a total for the year so far of 57,736 vehicles, and is expected to achieve a sales total in excess of 65,000 units this year.
The former Toyota executive will lead the further growth of the Kia brand throughout Europe alongside president Brandon Yea and takes up the role relinquished by Paul Philpott who returned to the UK operation in July this year as the first non-Korean president at any Kia subsidiary in Europe.
In the new role he will be responsible for all of Kia's pan-European operations including sales, marketing and aftersales as well as managing relations with the company's manufacturing facility in Žilina, Slovakia.
Cole said: "I have enjoyed a remarkable three years with a great team here at Kia in the UK and I am excited by the prospect of working to continue the strengthening of the Kia brand right across Europe. With a European production facility in Žilina, Slovakia, a European design office and European-focused research and development facilities I believe Kia has a great future among value-demanding European consumers who also want the very highest quality and distinctive design and appeal.
"I am sad to be leaving such a good team in the UK but I know that in Paul's hands the UK operation can only continue to strength-to-strength," added Cole.
Philpott commented: "Michael is the ideal person to take on the responsibility of growing Kia's brand appeal and commercial strength in a European market that continues to face some very big economic challenges. He will find a strong team and organisation at Frankfurt and I know, from my own experience, that all of the European subsidiaries and distributors will welcome his cool, calm and reasoned approach to the car business."
Cole, 48, is married with two children and joined Kia after 15 years with Toyota in the UK, where he rose to become UK sales director. He achieved a diploma in accountancy at Oxford Brookes University and qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants during his 10 years in the Ford dealer network.