Hyundai’s Top U.S. Designer Heading Back to GM

The departing Phillip Zak started his career at General Motors in 1988 and spent 20 years at the Detroit auto maker.

Drew Winter, Contributing Editor

February 5, 2011

1 Min Read
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In a field where the players are not known for letting grass grow under their feet, Hyundai Motor America Inc.’s chief U.S. designer is heading back to General Motors Co. after less than two years.

Sources confirmed late Friday Phillip Zak, who was named chief designer of the Hyundai Design Center in Irvine, CA, in April 2009, has left the auto maker to head back to GM.

Zak, who was in Detroit in January touting Hyundai’s Curb concept vehicle, still maintains a home in the Detroit area. He reportedly was lured back to Michigan by GM Global Design Chief Ed Welburn.

Zak started his career at GM in 1988 and spent 20 years at the Detroit auto maker, most recently as design director for General Motors Europe where he was responsible for Opel and Saab exterior production design work and future strategies.

At Hyundai, Zak replaced Joel Piaskowski, who left in late 2008 to head Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design of North America. Piaskowski since has moved on from that position.

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Designer Phil Zak with Hyundai Curb concept at recent North American International Auto Show.

About the Author(s)

Drew Winter

Contributing Editor, WardsAuto

Drew Winter is a former longtime editor and analyst for Wards. He writes about a wide range of topics including emerging cockpit technology, new materials and supply chain business strategies. He also serves as a judge in both the Wards 10 Best Engines and Propulsion Systems awards and the Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX awards and as a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year awards.

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