New LG chief opting for change over stability

By Song Su-hyun

LG Uplus head Kwon Young-soo to rise to second-in-command of group

  • Published : Jul 15, 2018 - 15:32
  • Updated : Jul 15, 2018 - 18:01

Koo Kwang-mo, the fourth-generation leader of LG Group, appears to be seeking a rapid change in the top brass of the fourth-largest conglomerate in South Korea, making sooner-than-expected appointments for key posts at LG Corp., according to the industry on Sunday.

The 40-year-old chairman reportedly appointed Kwon Young-soo, vice chairman and CEO of mobile carrier LG Uplus, as the CEO of holding company LG Corp., and is scheduled to discuss the appointment at a board meeting Monday. 

LG Corp. Chairman Koo Kwang-mo (LG Corp.)

The decision came two weeks after Koo took the helm of LG Group.

Current Vice Chairman and CEO of LG Corp. Ha Hyun-hwoi will be swapped with Kwon, moving to lead a telecom unit

Known as a corporate finance expert, Kwon is likely to spearhead management of the group, supporting the young chairman based on his vast experience at LG’s major affiliates including the electronics, display and chemical and telecom units.

LG officials declined to comment on the reason for the appointment decision.

“Considering Kwon’s deep understanding of the pan-group business structure, the vice chairman is expected to support Koo to decide on new investments, coordinate issues among the key affiliates and elevate each business to the next level,” said an industry official.

Nicknamed “troubleshooter,” Kwon is expected to seek breakthroughs in LG’s stalled smartphone business and help turn around the money-losing display unit. 

LG Uplus Vice Chairman Kwon Young-soo (LG Uplus)

“Under Kwon, LG could make aggressive investments in new businesses such as artificial intelligence, robots and car electronics, while Chairman Koo focuses more on setting directions for the future,” the official said.

Koo also named Lee Myung-kwan, chief human resources officer of LG Chem, as the HR head at LG Corp.

Koo, who took office on June 29, seems to be speeding up creation of a new LG leadership system with the two major appointments, according to industry sources.

“The latest appointments were sooner and more surprising than expected,” said an industry source, “Appointing the new HR head means that more changes in the top brass will come soon, which could lead to a larger-scale organizational reshuffle in the second half of the year.”

By Song Su-hyun (