Hyundai Canada Announces Changes to its Marketing Department


Hyundai Auto Canada announced changes to its marketing department. Kristina Covello-Garcia is national manager, of marketing communications, and Christine Smith is director of marketing, replacing Lawrence Hamilton who was promoted to executive director of Genesis Canada in May.

Smith comes from Hyundai Canada’s marketing agency of record, Innocean, where she led the Hyundai account for the past four years, most recently as senior vice-president, client business.

Smith brings nearly 30 years of marketing experience comprised of progressive agency roles in the automotive and consumer packaged goods sectors. In 2009, Smith re-located to New York where she led the Gillette account at BBDO/Proximity, as well as established and led the Campbell Soup account before she returned to Canada in 2017 and was hired as vice-president at Innocean, overseeing the Hyundai and Genesis accounts. In her new role, Smith will report to Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada.

“As someone who values the fast-pace of the agency environment but has been consistently curious about working client-side, the perfect opportunity to flourish in both scenarios arose through my new role at Hyundai Canada,” said Smith. “It’s easy to become deeply invested in Hyundai, the brand and the company are always on the move, progressing quickly in terms of lineup diversification and technology, and the focus on the customer journey is stronger than ever. After three years of providing support and direction agency-side, I’m thrilled to join Hyundai Canada client-side, and am very proud to lead the talented and dedicated marketing team I’ve had the pleasure of working on a number of award-winning campaigns with.”

Also new to the Hyundai Canada marketing team is Kristina Covello-Garcia, who is the national manager of marketing communications, reporting to Christine Smith. Covello-Garcia has worked in the automotive industry for over 16 years, starting with manufacturing experience as an assembler at Ford Motor Company of Canada to field management with General Motors of Canada. Covello-Garcia joined Hyundai Auto Canada in 2010, working in well-rounded roles of increasing responsibility in sales, service and parts, Genesis operations, and network development.

“Brands growing as quickly as Hyundai require a fully invested team with a strong focus on customer experience. Having worked in almost every area of the business, I have a deep understanding of the brand and the importance of successfully communicating our vision to consumers.  I look forward to applying my industry expertise into marketing and joining a highly successful, innovative team that shares my enthusiasm,” said Covello-Garcia.

“The changes announced today represent the commitment and talent of both Christine and Kristina, as well as the natural ebb and flow of a company fostering growth of its employees, creating a ripple effect of organizational opportunity and transformation,” said Don Romano, president and CEO of Hyundai Auto Canada. “Both Christine and Kristina have impressive career trajectories and leave new benchmarks for success in their respective previous areas of work. The Hyundai brand is at the zenith of total brand evolution through our leadership in mainstream EVs, new performance models on the horizon, a vehicle generating an entirely new segment, and enhancing the online customer journey. In this time of rapid growth, we will benefit tremendously from Christine and Kristina’s fresh perspectives, as well as their proven expertise in successfully providing an engaging, class-above customer experience.”

Additionally, Hyundai announced the inception of a new department, digital business development which will be led by Adam Mintz, who takes the new role of senior manager, digital business development reporting to Steve Flamand, director, product & corporate strategy. Mintz has been with Hyundai Canada for over five years and has nearly two decades on digital marketing experience. Replacing Mintz as manager, digital platforms is Siobhan McLaren-Hall, who has worked on Hyundai’s digital marketing business since January 2018.