BUSINESS

Posco chief enters second term, vowing ‘smart’ future

By Julie Kim Jackson
  • Published : Mar 10, 2017 - 17:47
  • Updated : Mar 12, 2017 - 13:43
Posco held its 49th general shareholders meeting at the Posco Center in Seoul on Friday, where it confirmed the re-election of Chairman Kwon Oh-joon as head of the steelmaking giant for another three-year term.

In January, the company’s board approved the motion to elect Kwon as its sole candidate. The shareholders’ meeting was attended by roughly 200 domestic and overseas shareholders, including representatives of overseas shareholders and institutional investors.

“Although a difficult management environment is expected because of the economy’s low growth rate, the rising cost of raw materials and the spread of protectionist trade throughout the industry, we stand firm on our drive to strengthen the profitability of steel and will continue to restructure and strengthen our future growth base,” Kwon said. 

Posco Chairman Kwon Oh-joon speaks during the 49th general shareholders meeting at the Posco Center in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap)

Following the event, the chairman held a press conference, during which he discussed his intentions to prepare the company for the upcoming 50 years by emphasizing smart industry initiatives.

“The pathway for Posco is to achieve a smart future,” Kwon said. “This means smart solutions and transformations that focus on establishing smart factories that utilize AI, big data and IoT (Internet of Things) solutions.”

“Right now we need to look forward ... as a business we cannot focus on just becoming a cash cow, we also need to be focusing on growth and sustainability,” he added.

Kwon, who took office as the eighth chairman of Posco in 2014, is credited as having strengthened the overall structure of the company and improving its profitability and financial soundness during his first term.

According to a statement by Posco officials, since Kwon’s induction as president three years ago the company has achieved a 19 percent increase in annual operating profits, from 2.2 trillion won ($1.9 billion) in 2013 to 2.6 trillion won in 2016.

Kwon’s re-election, however, has also come under scrutiny as he has been implicated in the scandal surrounding former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil.

During the independent counsel’s investigation, it was suggested that Kwon’s appointment as Posco chief may have been orchestrated by Cheong Wa Dae. It was also suggested that Kwon had promised to offer high-level positions in the company to Choi’s associates.

When asked about the accusations regarding Choi’s role in his appointment, Kwon told reporters Friday that the allegations were “100 percent false.”

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)