Lee, 57, served at the labor ministry for more than 30 years before becoming the president of Korea University of Technology & Education last year.
Lee last served as vice-minister of labor before going into academia.
Lee Ki-kweon, labor minister
Multiple sources within the ministry welcomed Lee’s appointment. Senior ministry officials who claimed to have worked with the bureaucrat said Lee was “a man of virtue” who “always took the blame for others when things got tough.”
Lee is remembered for his legislation efforts in 2009 to amend labor laws in order to increase benefits for temporary workers.
Lee is a graduate of Chung-Ang University in Seoul, and a South Jeolla Province native. His resume includes stints as a government auditor, employment policy maker, and as a department of labor standards head. The veteran official also served as a presidential secretary during the Lee Myung-bak administration.
There were worries that the lifelong bureaucrat could struggle in his new position because of his political inexperience. Heightened public demand for government reforms in the aftermath of the Sewol accident could also work against Lee, sources said.
By Jeong Hunny (email@example.com