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Search is on for new chiefs of KT, POSCO

Search is on for new chiefs of KT, POSCO

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Published : 2013-12-15 19:55
Updated : 2013-12-15 20:50

KT Corp. and POSCO, two of the nation’s most prominent former state-run companies, are still stumped in their searches for new chiefs.

As the nation’s second-largest mobile carrier, KT tried to narrow down the number of candidates for its chairman post over the weekend, aiming to carry out interviews as early as Monday.

On Saturday, KT’s CEO nomination committee broke up after arguing over who to choose. Over 40 candidates are vying for KT’s top job, hailing from mostly Samsung Electronics and KT.

The biggest bone of contention appeared to be whether it should be someone from outside or someone from within the company.

One other area the candidates hail from is the foreign business community, such as HP, IBM and Oracle. But this idea doesn’t seem to be going down well either, as many in the nomination committee objected to selecting someone who had worked at a non-Korean entity.

The government isn’t making things any easier, as it’s now turning a blind eye after successfully pushing out former president Lee Myung-bak’s man.

Without a nod from the people upstairs, it’s going to be difficult for the committee to make a decision, which may come back to bite them four years from now.

The situation is not too different for POSCO, despite rumors that Kim Won-gil, a former health minister and currently an adviser to a non-profit volunteer group, has the best shot. Some say nothing has been decided yet, while others say Cheong Wa Dae has set its sights on Kim. If successful, he would be the first non-POSCO chairman since the steelmaker was privatized in 2000.

POSCO is now more than anxious for closure, as the company is struggling to overcome obstacles such as the growing competition from China and sluggish global demand.

Amid all the uncertainty, one thing is clear: For both KT and POSCO, selecting their own chiefs has once again been taken out of their hands.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)

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