40 Under 40 2019 | Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart is senior group manager of U.S. corporate and marketing communications for Hyundai Motor America. It’s a big responsibility with many elements, including managing Hyundai’s corporate reputation, executing thought leadership and executive visibility, launching corporate and business news, supporting the company’s advertising and marketing programs, and overseeing social media activities and influencer engagement. 

He excels at them all. Since joining Hyundai in 2017, Stewart has worked tirelessly to position the company as an industry leader in customer experience, both through a national media campaign and securing high-profile speaking engagements for top executives. On the marketing side, he’s led the PR efforts to support Hyundai’s Super Bowl activation, such as orchestrating a primetime special on the making of the game day commercial. Stewart is also the key figure behind Hyundai’s influencer engagement strategy, which, in the past year, maintained an impressive 13% engagement rate.

Prior to joining Hyundai, Stewart spent a decade at Ketchum, joining as an assistant account executive and rising to the rank of VP of the L.A. corporate practice. In addition to managing a budget of $3.5 million and serving as client director for Hyundai, he was account lead for one of the agency’s largest healthcare clients, the diagnostic imaging equipment maker Toshiba America Medical Systems. 

"Michael is the whole package," said Melissa Kinch, one of Stewart’s former colleagues at Ketchum. "He has the ability to make his clients believe they are the most important thing in the world to him. He knows their industries, issues and cultures inside and out. And he earns respect for himself and the agency as a result." 

  • Stewart was the winner of Hyundai’s BIG program, a Shark Tank-inspired creative idea generator, which led to the launch of Hyundai’s first employee social media ambassador program.
  • He received Ketchum's David Drobis Award for superior client service in 2017. 
  • Stewart graduated from USC with a bachelor’s in business administration and is a member of the USC Center for Public Relations’ board of advisors.

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