Kwon Oh-joon, president and chief technical officer of POSCO, was nominated to become chairman of the company, the steelmaker’s board of directors announced Thursday.
Kwon will replace current chairman Chung Joon-yang, who offered to resign in November. Kwon will have to gain approval at the general shareholders’ meeting on March 14.
Kwon’s abundant experience in the technological field, along with solid career he has enjoyed within the company that allowed him to understand the organization at all levels, were the two biggest factors for his nomination, the board said. Kwon has previously led the company’s R&D center and the POSCO European Union office based in Dusseldorf, Germany.
“Not only POSCO but the steel industry as a whole has faced the so-called margin squeeze environment led by the oversupply of steel and worsening of raw material oligopoly. POSCO needs to streamline its business structure to reinforce financial soundness and bring up the company’s value in the long term,” the board stated in a press release Thursday.
“We will need to combine technology and marketing in order to strengthen our competitiveness while developing new and original technologies that could become a next-generation growth engine,” it said.
Once elected, the former engineer and CEO must tackle POSCO’s myriad of challenges including the growing competition from China and the sluggish global demand for steel products. The company is also pressed to break ties with its past as a passive, government-led organization in order to pursue the innovation necessary for its survival.
POSCO is currently the world’s fifth-largest steelmaker in terms of annual sales.
Kwon, born in 1950, graduated from Seoul National University, earned his master’s degree at the University of Windsor and a doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh. He started his career at the Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)