Hyundai hires GM veteran Latouf as new N.A. safety chief

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Hyundai has hired General Motors veteran Brian Latouf as the new chief safety officer for the Korean automaker’s North American operations, beginning next week.

Latouf, who was executive director of safety investigations at General Motors for nearly six years, will report to North America CEO Jose Munoz. Latouf will be responsible for safety regulation matters, strategic legal direction and oversight of safety and emissions investigations, the automaker said.

“Brian is a proven and experienced leader who will be serving in a tremendously important role in our organization,” said Munoz, who joined Hyundai in April after leaving Nissan. “I’m delighted we are adding someone of his capabilities to our leadership team.”

Hyundai said in a statement that Latouf is one of the industry’s most experienced leaders in the areas of safety, regulation and certification — an increasingly complex specialty as the industry undergoes profound changes.

“Coming to Hyundai at this critical juncture in the company’s history is a challenging yet exciting opportunity,” Latouf said in the release. “This clearly is a company going places.”

According to his Linkedin profile, Latouf worked for 14 1/2 years at GM, including as director of the Canadian Regional Engineering Center in Ontario and director of the global safety center in Warren, Mich. He has a master of science degree in bioengineering from Wayne State University and a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Windsor in Ontario.

Latouf was named GM’s head of safety investigations in 2014, replacing Carmen Benavides, who had been dealing with U.S. safety investigators probing defective ignition switches linked at the time to more than a dozen deaths.

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