NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd has appointed Marko Wowczyna UK managing director, effective April 1, 2021.
He replaces Tammy Suzuki who NGK says has returned to Japan after four years at the helm.
Mr Wowczyna becomes the firm’s first-ever non-Japanese UK MD.
With nearly 25 years’ experience in the automotive aftermarket, Wowczyna joined NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd in 2012 as general manager – aftermarket.
Since then he has held a number of senior management positions including those of automotive director and deputy managing director.
Commenting on his new appointment, the 56-year-old said: “I am looking forward to my new role and the opportunities that will open up as NGK continues to expand product ranges and actively seeks new markets for the future.
“Covid-19 obviously had an impact on the company, particularly at the peak of the first lockdown, but we have been pleasantly surprised and pleased at how quickly the business has recovered, in both the aftermarket and OEM sectors.
“It has been a positive response and we have seen very strong demand for our product. As most companies, we have had to change how we operate the business over the past 12 months and have had to adapt to operate in a more virtual way.
“Although business wasn’t in line with our original plans, it has been good and with the OEMs recovering strongly demand has exceeded expectations. Also, along with every other UK business, we have also had to deal with Brexit which has led to an increase in administration and costs.”
Mr Wowczyna notes how the company has had to consider the ramifications of the UK government’s decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.
He added: “We need to be ready for the changes and how as a company we address the pace of change. The move towards electrification is currently driven mainly by the variants of hybrid vehicles (PHEV; HEV or MHEV) where there will still be a need for spark plugs, glow plugs and sensors.
“We are however not burying our heads in the sand and as a company are actively planning for the future as new technologies have a habit of gaining speed and traction in markets.”