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Hyosung’s Cho Hyun-joon leadership facing legal obstacles

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Published : 2016-07-22 09:56
Updated : 2016-07-22 14:20

[THE INVESTOR] Hyosung Group’s next-in-line Cho Hyun-joon, must mount a major legal hurdle as he makes his way to the top: his brother. 

In January, a lower court placed him under probation for embezzlement. His father Seok-rae, the current Hyosung chairman, was given a three-year sentence. Both have appealed, but the court dates have yet to be set.

Further, Cho’s younger brother Hyun-moon had previously referred him to the prosecution for embezzlement and breach of trust. The case is now receiving renewed attention on findings that senior presidential secretary for civil affairs Woo Byung-woo -- formerly a prosecutor and attorney -- might have been involved in defending corrupt businesspeople. Woo reportedly served as a legal consultant for Hyun-moon, who left Hyosung in 2013 after a fall out with his father.
Hyosung Group headquarters.

Despite these issues, it can't be denied that Cho has been working to put the conglomerate back on the map in the textile and heavy industries market--areas Hyosung has previously excelled in. And the numbers so far are supportive.

Market estimates show Hyosung posting another record-high earnings in the second quarter. Hyundai Securities expects sales to reach 3.2 trillion won (US$2.79 billion) - - similar to 2015 levels -- and operating profit to rise 2.5 percent to 261.4 billion won.

In the first quarter, the group’s earnings hit an all-time high of 2.81 trillion won of sales with an operating profit of 222.3 billion won. The second-quarter figures are expected to be released early next week. 

The feat was achieved under Cho, who was named the group president and CEO in 2007. Since 2010, Hyosung has maintained its position as the world’s largest spandex manufacturer. 

Hyosung Group CEO Cho Hyun-joon.

“The CEO has been proactively pursuing new businesses and working to solidify ongoing projects,” said Kim Sung-soo, a spokesperson for Hyosung. Most recently, the CEO has been upping the ante to solidify Hyosung’s position as the No.1 spandex manufacturer in China.

A part of the motivation for Cho is to show he is undeterred by the series of legal actions taken against him, industry sources say. 

By Kim Ji-hyun (