SEOUL – Hyundai Motor Group heir-apparent Chung Eui-sun was elevated to the chairmanship of the group on Wednesday morning, making him the third member of his family to head the industry giant.

Chung, 49, was voted in by a unanimous decision of the boards of the group’s three key affiliates – Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and parts-maker Hyundai Mobis.

It was the group’s first leadership handover in 20 years.

While the timing of the move was a surprise, it was no shock. Rumors of ill-health have been hovering over Chung’s father, the former chairman and billionaire Chung Mong-koo, 82. The older Chung was hospitalized in July with intestinal problems. 

The handover assures Hyundai of business stability.