Seoul: Hyundai Motor Group appointed heir apparent Euisun Chung as chief vice chairman on Friday, moving him a step closer to succeeding his father as head of South Korea’s second largest conglomerate.

Chung, 47, will assist his father and group chairman Chung Mong-Koo, who promoted his son to respond to “deteriorating global trade issues and changes in competitive dynamics in major markets," Hyundai Motor Group said in a statement.

South Korea’s government has called for reform of the country’s family-owned conglomerates, known as chaebols.

Chung, the 80-year-old chairman, has made few public appearances and skipped his New Year speech to employees in recent years.

“In his new capacity, Chief Vice Chairman Euisun Chung will oversee the entire Group’s operations, aiding and reporting to Chairman Mong-Koo Chung," the group said in a statement.

The appointment is also part of an effort to “improve future competitiveness and secure future growth engines" at a time when the auto industry is undergoing major changes, the group said in a statement.

The younger Chung was vice chairman of the conglomerate’s crown jewel Hyundai Motor Co since 2009, after his stint at affiliate Kia Motors.