The Korea Herald


LG taps two female CEOs in unprecedented move

Korea's fourth-largest business group zeroes in on diversity, future planning in year-end reshuffle

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Nov. 24, 2022 - 17:30

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LG H&H CEO nominee Lee Jung-ae (left) and G II R CEO nominee Park Ae-ri (LG Group) LG H&H CEO nominee Lee Jung-ae (left) and G II R CEO nominee Park Ae-ri (LG Group)

South Korea's fourth-largest conglomerate LG has tapped two female CEOs in its groupwide year-end reshuffle that ended Thursday.

Consumer goods arm LG H&H named Executive Vice President Lee Jung-ae as the new chief executive officer, replacing Cha Suk-yong after nearly 18 years of service.

Lee is one of two female CEOs to have been nominated for the first time in LG's history.

Since joining LG H&H in 1986, the 59-year-old Lee has been dedicated to consumer goods marketing, and is behind the success of cosmetics brands such as Whoo, O Hui and Sum 37, as well as refreshments such as Seagram. Lee also currently serves as head of Coca-Cola Korea.

Lee will be tasked with seeking a turnaround, as LG H&H's profit has been on the decline over the past year. In the first three quarters, LG H&H's operating profit came to 582.2 billion won ($438.4 million), down 44.5 percent compared from the previous year.

Lee will take the place of Cha, the longest-serving CEO among Korean companies with over 1 trillion won in annual sales. The 69-year-old has served as CEO of LG H&H, formerly known as LG Household & Health Care, since January 2005.

Immediately after the announcement, LG's advertising unit G II R tapped Executive Vice President Park Ae-ri as the group's second ever female CEO. LG said Park has expertise in above-the-line advertising, using mass media as a means for brand promotion, adding she will be tasked with strengthening data-based digital marketing capability.

LG said in a statement that Lee and Kim were the first female CEOs among the major business groups here -- Samsung, SK, Hyundai Motor and LG -- excluding chaebol family members. LG also revealed that its number of female executives will rise to 64 following Thursday's announcement, double that of 2018's 29.

Alongside Lee and Kim, promoted to president are LG Electronics Executive Vice President Lyu Jae-cheol, in charge of the home appliance business, and petrochemicals-to-battery material firm LG Chem's Executive Vice President Cha Dong-seok. Chemicals arm FarmHannong's Kim Moo-yong was also named new CEO.

LG also promoted 31 employees dedicated to research and development to executive positions, bringing the total number of R&D executives to 196. This comes as part of LG's moves to bring future planning to the fore.

In total, 116 new executives across the group had been promoted through Thursday. LG said in a statement that over 90 percent were aged 52 or younger.

LG added that its youngest executive promoted is 39 years old and his work at LG Electronics centered on data-driven digital transformation to enhance home connectivity features.

LG's year-end personnel reshuffle began Wednesday, starting with LG Chem and flat-panel screen maker LG Display. LG was the first chaebol to announce its reshuffle among peers Samsung, SK, Hyundai Motor and LG.