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[Newsmaker] LG CEO breaks barriers in school background

Jo Seong-jin
Jo Seong-jin
LG Electronics appointed, for the first time, a high school graduate CEO.

The Seoul-based consumer electronics giant announced on Thursday the promotion of Jo Seong-jin, former executive vice president of the company’s home appliances department, to the position of president.

Jo joined the company in its Gold Star days after graduating from Yongsan Technical High School in 1976. He volunteered to work in the washing machine planning department, which was formerly looked down on by employees at the time due to the low supply of the machines ― below 1 percent ― in the industry.

Despite the discrimination, Jo had an ambitious goal: to come up with original know-how so that the company would no longer have to rely on Japanese technologies. He devoted more than three decades to achieving his goal and finally, in 1999, he came up with the brilliant Direct Drive.

Direct Drive, a technique to remodel the whole interior of the motorized washing machine, catapulted LG washing machines into the global limelight and drove up sales.

Recognized for this contribution, Jo was made the first-ever high-school graduate executive in 2001, in charge of the washing machine development team.

Jo’s work did not end there. He developed the world’s first dual-spray drum washing machine in 2005 and the mega-hit TROMM, which also became immensely popular in the U.S.

He was promoted to the vice president position in 2007, and won the Bronze Tower, the Order of Industrial Service Merit, from the government.

The unprecedented appointment fits what LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo emphasized several times earlier this year regarding personnel appointments, that good performance will be served well.

By Park Min-young  (
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Korea Herald daum