LG Uplus, KT headed for legal battle over exec hire

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Sept 10, 2013 - 21:19
  • Updated : Sept 10, 2013 - 21:19
Two leading Korean telecom operators, LG Uplus and KT, appear to be preparing for a legal battle over a top executive’s recruitment.

KT recently hired Kim Cheol-su, a former senior executive vice president at LG Uplus, to head its global partnership development and consulting business. The division is in charge of strategic consulting with global partners for overseas projects, such as a Long Term Evolution project in Rwanda.

“Kim broke the agreement not to work in the same field or for rival companies within one year of retirement,” LG Uplus said in its statement.

Kim used to be a director of LG Uplus’ mass service division, supervising sales and marketing in the domestic market. He retired from his post last December and started to work as an adviser in March. His term ends in March next year.

Last week, LG Uplus sent an official letter to KT, warning that hiring a rival company’s executive may violate laws protecting confidential business information and fair trade.

The company plans to apply for an injunction against Kim on the grounds of violating the agreement. They are expected to take strong legal action against KT as well.

“KT will not terminate Kim’s employment. We have already reviewed all legal matters through our legal team. There is no problem in hiring Kim as he already finished his term at LG Uplus,” said KT spokesperson Kim Gwan-sung.

“This is the same case as the former KT CEO Lee Sang-chul, who is now a vice chairman of LG Uplus.”

However, an industry source said that Lee’s case was different. He was appointed as a vice chairman of LG Uplus eight years after he left KT. He then served as minister of information and communication and as a professor at Korea University before joining LG.

By Shin Ji-hye (