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GS chairman calls on new executives to steer change

GS Group chairman Huh Chang-soo on Friday called on new executives to take the initiative in self-development, innovation and the fulfillment of social responsibility.

He stressed the growing role of top managers in coping with ever-intensifying competition and economic uncertainties at home and abroad.

“It is surely not easy for us to predict the future and preempt hurdles but what shapes our competitiveness is how fast and aptly we can cope with the change,” Huh said in a meeting with new group executives on Jeju Island.
Huh Chang-soo
Huh Chang-soo

Overseeing the group’s overall operations, Huh has for years put priority on innovation, challenge and investment as key to overcome difficulties.

The 64-year-old Huh has also led the aggressive overseas expansion of Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate. Around half of the group’s entire revenue is now generated offshore, with exports making up nearly 60 percent of sales of its refining unit, GS Caltex. Other subsidiaries in construction, energy and retail are actively advancing abroad.

“You should not take just local rivals into account to stand out in your field. You have to set your sight on the global market and leading players there, and boost your competitiveness to that level,” he said.

With regard to the sour public sentiment on chaebol, or family-owned conglomerates, Huh stressed the need of “corporate citizenship.”

“There is a fervent aspiration for a fair society and ecosystemic development in our economy,” Huh said. “We must acknowledge the need, fulfill our social responsibility and spearhead the protection of the underprivileged to earn respect from the populace.”

GS plans to invest a record 3.1 trillion won ($2.8 billion) this year to boost its energy, retail and construction units. It aims to fetch 7.5 trillion won in sales, up 10 percent from last year. 

By Shin Hyon-hee (