[Superich] Hansae Group speeds up business succession

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Apr 20, 2017 - 13:55
  • Updated : Apr 20, 2017 - 17:12
Hansae Group has been actively passing on its management rights to the second generation of its founding family, with Director Kim Seok-hwan promoted to co-CEO of the largest domestic online bookstore Yes24 last month.

The group was founded by Kim Dong-nyeong in 1982 as a company specializing in the export of clothes. Hansae Co. established foreign corporate bodies in the 1980s and expanded its business to Latin America in the 1990s. 

Chairman of Hansae Group Kim Dong-nyeong
It was listed on the Korea Exchange in the 2000s and transformed itself into a holding company with Chairman Kim Dong-nyeong as the central figure of its vertical investment system. It took over Yes24 in 2003 and expanded its business from book distribution to the creation of digital, entertainment, cultural and foreign content.

Hansae’s founding family members do not rank among Korea’s Richest 100.

Kim Dong-nyeong ranks 161th, with listed and unlisted stocks worth around 130 billion won ($113.9 million) as of March 30. His two sons, Kim Seok-hwan and Kim Ik-hwan own 136.8 billion won and 110.4 billion won each and rank 159th and 165th, respectively.

Kim Dong-nyeong’s eldest son, Kim Seok-hwan, has a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in information engineering from George Washington University. He started his career at Hansae Group as the general director of its internet shopping mall, istyle24, and became the director of Yes24 in March 2012. 

Yes24 co-CEO Kim Seok-hwan. (Yes24)
The second son, Kim Ik-hwan, graduated from Korea University and worked at LG Group until he left for the US to receive a Master of Business Administration. He worked at Abercrombie before working at Hansae Co.

Hansae Group has been speeding up its succession recently by appointing Kim’s two sons as registered directors of Hansae Yes24 Holdings, a subsidiary of Hansae Group. The two are registered board members of Yes24 and Hansae Co. but this was the first time they had been made registered directors of a subsidiary. This expands the scope of their participation in decision-making such as being able to join meetings of the holding company’s directors.

The transfer of shares of Hansae Yes24 Holdings to the second generation began 10 years ago. The brothers started to purchase shares from the early 2000s. Currently, CEO Kim Seok-hwan is the largest shareholder of Hansae Yes24 Holdings with 25.94 percent of its shares. Director Kim Ik-hwan owns 20.76 percent, while his father own 17.86 percent.

They have also been strengthening their control over Hansae Co., the company in which the group has its roots.

Hansae Yes24 Holdings is its largest shareholder with 41.92 percent of shares, while Kim Dong-nyeong, Kim Seok-hwan, and Kim Ik-hwan own 5.49 percent, 3.58 percent, and 2.94 percent of its shares, respectively.

Kim Seok-hwan’s appointment as co-CEO of Yes24 by the board of directors on March 17 is seen as part of the speedy succession that the group has been pursuing. As his father resigned from his post as CEO of Yes24 in June 2015, Kim Seok-hwan is to run the company with CEO Kim Gi-ho.

Kim Seok-hwan, who has been in charge of digital-related businesses, is known as the candidate most likely to succeed the family business. 

Yes24’s e-book reader Crema. (Yes24)
“With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, I am planning to push forward a prominent development strategy that involves big data for distribution and diverse contents for our e-books,” said Kim Seok-hwan upon his promotion.

In particular, Kim Seok-hwan is expected to push forward the drone delivery service system that will begin in two years by collaborating with a manufacturer of robots. There are also plans to use big data as a means of maximizing the efficiency of its book recommendation system.

By The Superich Team

Min Sang-seek
Yoon Hyun-jong
Yim Ji-min (