PAUL Williams – the former MD of SsangYong, Kia and Daihatsu in the UK – has died following a short and sudden illness.
In a statement, released on Monday evening (December 10), his family said: ‘Paul fell ill suddenly and died on Sunday in a hospice where he had been for just a few days.’
Williams, who was 57, is believed to have contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, more commonly known as CJD – an extremely rare condition that affects the brain and causes irreversible damage to nerve cells.
A former colleague told Car Dealer Magazine: ‘It’s a one-in-a-million chance to get CJD – it’s so sad. Paul was taken ill a few weeks ago, doctors ran tests, and within days he deteriorated.
‘We heard last week that he had been placed in a hospice. We can’t believe how quickly he became so ill. He’ll be sorely missed.’
The family statement added: ‘Paul had been involved in the motor industry since 1982 and worked for a number of brands. Most recently responsible for the return of SsangYong to the UK in 2007, he also played key management roles with Daihatsu, Mitsubishi and Kia.’
Williams quit his job at SsangYong in September last year after six years with the brand. From 2007 to 2011, he was the MD at Koelliker UK, which imported SsangYong vehicles.
He was managing director at Kia between 2002 and 2006, previously worked at Mitsubishi as director of sales and marketing between 1999 and 2002, and before that was MD of Daihatsu from 1995 to 1999.
The family has said funeral arrangements will be announced in due course.