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Race to become POSCO chief to kick off this week

Race to become POSCO chief to kick off this week

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Published : 2013-12-18 20:25
Updated : 2013-12-18 20:25

The process to pick the next chairman and CEO of POSCO, the nation’s top steelmaker, will kick off this week with a CEO nomination panel to be launched soon.

Attention is being paid to whether the successor of the outgoing chairman Chung Joon-yang will come from inside or outside the company. The CEO nomination committee will be composed of the steelmaker’s six outside directors.

“When the committee is formed, it will review a pool of internal and external CEO candidates and the final entry will take shape by February next year, a couple of weeks before the firm’s annual meeting of shareholders to be held on March 14, ’’ a company spokesperson said.

The world’s fifth-largest steelmaker has been looking for new leadership since Chung offered his resignation to the corporate board on Nov. 15.

Chung’s resignation had been expected given that the top post of the steelmaker, once a state-run company, is still under the influence of the government, and its leader has changed with every new administration.

The company has been privatized since 2000, but its largest shareholder is the state-run National Pension Fund, which holds a 5.99 percent stake.

The race for the next chairmanship has been heating up before the official launch of the CEO nomination committee. Since late November, a succession panel has looked for CEO candidates both within and outside the company to recommend them to the nomination committee.

According to local media reports, the succession committee puts about 10 internal or external candidates on a list of potential nominees.

Internal candidates reportedly included Yoon Seok-man, former chairman of POSCO E&C; Lee Dong-hwi, vice chairman of Daewoo International, a trade arm of POSCO; and Park Ki-hong, a current POSCO CEO.

A couple of pro-government politicians, including Choe Byung-ryul, a former ruling party chairman and supporter of President Park Geun-hye, are being mentioned as strong external candidates.

Amid flooding rumors and news reports on candidates for POSCO’s next chairman, POSCO employees and executives have mixed reactions to external CEO candidates.

“I prefer internal candidates to external ones, but considering repeated uncertainties surrounding the company’s top position, what matters the most seems to be strong leadership to cope with external influences,” a POSCO official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

By Seo Jee-yeon (jyseo@heraldcorp.com)

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