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LG Electronics chief to step down as group seeks change

Executives in their 60s are likely to leave, passing their batons to younger leaders

Jo Seong-jin, vice chairman and CEO of LG Electronics, is expected to step down from the top position of one of South Korea’s main tech firms as LG Group intends to choose change over stability in the upcoming organizational reshuffling, according to industry sources Thursday.

According to local news reports, the 63-year-old vice chairman has tendered his resignation as he requested LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo, 41, to pass the leadership baton onto the next generation and seek a major change in businesses.

Jo joined LG in 1976 and is widely known as a “master of washing machines.” He was promoted to vice chairman in 2016. Jo was the first C-suite level official at a major Korean conglomerate without a university degree. 

Jo Seong-jin (LG Electronics)
Jo Seong-jin (LG Electronics)

Kwon Bong-seok, current head of both TV and smartphone businesses, is likely to succeed Jo as new CEO of LG’s flagship electronics unit, according to sources.

Kwon, 56, has been leading the home entertainment business since 2014. He is recognized for boosting the TV unit’s margins by nearly 10 percent by promoting sales of organic light-emitting diode TVs.

He is currently making hard efforts to normalize the company’s smartphone unit as well.

Including Jo, five out of six vice chairmen of LG Group, the country’s fourth-biggest family-run conglomerate, have left or changed positions under the new leader of the Koo family since June 2018.

Last month, LG Display Vice Chairman and CEO Han Sang-beom tendered his resignation.

Last year, Chairman Koo appointed 3M Senior Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol as LG Chem vice chairman to replace predecessor Park Jin-soo.

Ha Hyun-hoi, former vice chairman of LG Corp., has moved to the LG Uplus vice chairman post in a position swap with Kwon Young-soo, who is the incumbent vice chairman of the holding company.

Along with the changes at the flagship electronics unit, other LG affiliates are expected to face significant changes in their top brass.

The heads of major business units at LG Chem are highly likely to be replaced with younger leaders.

Min Kyung-jip, the CEO of LG Hausys is predicted to leave, too.

“There will be fewer promotions than last year, but some cases tell that the group is seeking a radical transformation by changing the leadership generation amid growing uncertainties in the global business environment,” a group official said.

By Song Su-hyun (