Choi Yeon-hye, 57, a former dean of the Korea National Railroad College, was named as new CEO of Korea Railroad Corp., or KORAIL, the state-run railway operator, according to the company. She will be KORAIL’s first female CEO.
Choi is a well-known rail expert in Korea, with expertise on the project to connect the Trans-Siberian Railway with the Trans-Korean Railway, which has been discussed for more than a decade.
The project has been backed by President Park Geun-hye. She expressed her hope for a revival of the project during a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg last month.
Despite her extensive knowledge in railway management, however, some industry watchers raised concerns over whether she would be able to tackle the imminent issues ahead of KORAIL, including worsening financial health and internal opposition to privatization.
Most of all, KORAIL is under pressure from mounting debt, which reached 11.6 trillion won ($10 billion) as of the end of last year.
Choi graduated from Seoul National University with a major in German language and literature and has served as a professor at the Korea National Railroad College.
By Seo Jee-yeon (email@example.com)