Kia Motors America says Len Hunt has been promoted from chief operating officer to CEO, replacing B.G. Lee who is returning to South Korea.

Hunt now also carries the title of president. He previously was an executive vice president.

“This decision reflects a solid vote of confidence in the leadership of Len Hunt,” E.S. Chung, president and CEO of Kia Motors Corp. says. “He has put together and empowered a team of seasoned professionals to help Kia flexibly meet the changing U.S. market situation, and he is the right choice to lead the company going forward.”

Hunt joined Kia in the fall of 2005 from Volkswagen of America Inc., where he was in charge of U.S. sales and marketing.

The change in leadership was precipitated by the firing of former KMA CEO Peter Butterfield, whom Lee replaced.