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New KAI chief vows to find growth engine

South Korean aerospace and defense company Korea Aerospace Industries appointed Ahn Hyun-ho, a former vice industry minister, as its new chief executive at its board meeting Thursday.

The new CEO replaces former leader Kim Jo-won, who is now serving as a senior presidential secretary to President Moon Jae-in. Ahn was to begin his three-year term immediately Thursday. 

Korea Aerospace Industries’ new CEO Ahn Hyun-ho (KAI)
Korea Aerospace Industries’ new CEO Ahn Hyun-ho (KAI)

“We will establish a foothold for KAI to leap forward by seeking new business portfolios,” said Ahn Hyun-ho during an inauguration ceremony on the day.

To do that, KAI plans to expand marketing efforts for local aircraft, undertake cost-cutting moves and expand research and development on key technologies.

“We should not dwell on the current situation and should continue to create high-value products and services through constant innovation,” he said.

The new chief said companies and industries that do not innovate would fall behind in the “fourth industrial revolution” amid growing uncertainties caused by a long-term economic recession at home and abroad.

Ahn, who is a former vice minister of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy -- which is now the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy -- has been a public servant for 30 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in trade from Seoul National University.

On Aug. 21, KAI’s recommendation committee nominated Ahn on grounds that he has knowledge of policies to foster industries and overseas markets. 

By Shin Ji-hye (