Hyundai Motor Group President and CCO Luc Donckerwolke Named Le Journal de l’Automobile’s 2022 Man of the Year

Hyundai Motor Group President and CCO Luc Donckerwolke Named Le Journal de l’Automobile’s 2022 Man of the Year

  • Le Journal de l’Automobile recognizes Luc Donckerwolke, Hyundai Motor Group President and Chief Creative Officer, as 2022 Man of the Year
  • Donckerwolke revolutionizes design identity of the Group’s Hyundai, Kia and Genesis automotive brands

PARIS/SEOUL, April 19, 2023 – Hyundai Motor Group President and Chief Creative Officer Luc Donckerwolke has been named the Journal de l’Automobile’s l’Homme de l’Année (Man of the Year) by a jury of 27 journalists from the automotive sector. Donckerwolke was recognized not only for his previous achievements in design, but also for his successful performance leading design for the Hyundai Motor Group’s Hyundai, Kia and Genesis automotive brands.

Now in its 42nd year, the l’Homme de l’Année award recognizes prolific people that have made a significant impact on the automotive industry over the course of their careers. The awards ceremony, held on the Champs-Elysées in Paris, France, saw many high-profile automotive figures attend in Donckerwolke’s honor.

“I am very fortunate to have been able to turn my passion for design into a profession,” Donckerwolke commented in a moving speech, in which he thanked the “instigators” that had inspired him to become a car designer — among them, famed racing driver and fellow Belgian Jacky Ickx, and Jean Graton, creator of the Michel Vaillant comic book series, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year.

“I am honored to have been named the 2022 Man of the Year. I would like to extend my thanks to the jury and my team,” said Donckerwolke. “Throughout my career, I have worked for many automotive companies and brands, but I am especially overjoyed by the impact design is having on Hyundai Motor Group. Of course, this would not have been possible without the inspirational leadership, positive creative culture and dedication of my talented colleagues in the Group who time and again prove that success is achieved by the best team.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Philippe Graton, son of Michel Vaillant creator Jean Graton, recalled the time Donckerwolke asked Graton’s father for permission to draw a Vaillant race car: “When a designer creates a vehicle, regardless of brand, he doesn’t just create a beautiful car to which he adds a logo. He must first immerse himself completely in the culture and DNA of that brand so that it’s recognizable even without the logo. You did this for my father. He’d drawn a dozen Vaillant race cars, but he’d never analyzed the design. He never had to. But you demonstrated the design, in utter humility on your part, and my father then understood what qualities a Vaillant possessed. He was very touched by that.”

Jacky Ickx, also in attendance, congratulated Donckerwolke on stage, stating: “They say if your dreams don’t scare you then they’re not big enough. I don’t believe that. In life, you have to take risks, and you get out what you put in. Thank you all for honoring a man who is twice good; not only in his professional life, but also in his humanity.”

The award was presented by Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo, previous l’Homme de l’Année winner and a former colleague of Donckerwolke’s, who spoke about the importance of emotion in the automotive industry: “I’ve always thought that if we lose emotion our industry is finished. That’s why we absolutely need people like Luc, to complete the picture, to add color. People that bring heart into the equation. It’s the ingredient that makes a successful recipe.”

Donckerwolke’s 30-year career as an automotive designer has enabled him to gain global experience working for many prestigious brands, including Bentley, Lamborghini, Skoda, Seat and Audi. He joined Hyundai in 2016, succeeding Peter Schreyer as CCO in 2017. In November of last year, he was also named President of the Group.

Inaugurated in 1981, the Journal de l'Automobile’s l‘Homme de l’Année award honors a figure in the automotive industry who has made a defining mark over the past year. For the shortlist, the French automotive trade publication asks journalists to nominate three people whom they think are deserving of the award. In a second round of voting, the winner is determined.

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About Hyundai Motor Group

Hyundai Motor Group is a global enterprise that has created a value chain based on mobility, steel, and construction, as well as logistics, finance, IT, and service. With about 250,000 employees worldwide, the Group's mobility brands include Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis. Armed with creative thinking, cooperative communication and the will to take on any challenges, we strive to create a better future for all.

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