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[Herald Interview] Kyobo chief advocates ‘human-centered management’ to world SMEs

Kyobo Life Insurance CEO Shin Chang-jae shared his ideas on human-centered management with small-sized business owners, government officials and scholars from around the world, officials said Sunday.

“Profit is like fuel. A company cannot live without it but should not live for it, either,” said Shin in his keynote speech at a forum held Friday in New York, local time.

Shin Chang-jae, CEO of Kyobo Life Insurance. (Kyobo Life Insurance)
Shin Chang-jae, CEO of Kyobo Life Insurance. (Kyobo Life Insurance)

The event, titled “Sustainable Stakeholder Relationship Management Based on Humanism,” was held jointly by the United Nations and the International Council for Small Business.

Introducing Kyobo’s management philosophy, Shin highlighted his father and business founder Shin Yong-ho’s history as a fertility treatment doctor and appreciation for human life, as well as the company’s crisis during South Korea’s financial crisis in 1997-1998.

“I learned that without a consensus, employees may distrust or even deny (the company’s) vision and strategy,” he said.

“But a vision that is shared by everyone may become an inspiration and passion.”

He also underlined the importance of an emotional approach to form a bond with employees and encourage them to voluntarily engage in their work.

“The ‘E’ in the term ‘CEO’ should mean not only executive, but also empowerment, entertainment, envisioning, educating, and encouraging,” he said, calling for business leaders to play multiple roles and be consistent.

By prioritizing the value of all stakeholders, including both employees and customers, the company might achieve better financial results and eventually create a virtuous circle, according to the Kyobo chief.

Founded in 1955, the ICSB is an international organization dedicated to the study of SME policies and entrepreneurship, with some 70 countries as member states.

By Bae Hyun-jung (