The Korea Herald


[Newsmaker] Businesses brace for New Year challenges

Crisis, challenge and renovation key terms in business moguls’ messages

By Kim Young-won

Published : Jan. 2, 2014 - 20:26

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A bull figure representing a bullish stock market stands in the middle of the office district in Yeouido.(Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald) A bull figure representing a bullish stock market stands in the middle of the office district in Yeouido.(Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)

Chairmen of Korea’s top conglomerates started off the year on Thursday by urging executives and employees to brace for crisis.

Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee emphasized that the business behemoth should keep trying to shed old things in running business in order to embrace a new global management system.

“To be a leader in an environment that lacks certainty and visibility, we must go beyond the boundaries of current markets and technologies,” Lee said at an opening event for the New Year held at Shilla Hotel.

“It is therefore time to change once again,” said Lee, noting that the firm’s leading businesses are constantly being challenged by competitors, while time is running out for less dynamic businesses.

“Let us boldly throw away the business models and strategies of the past five and 10 years.”

Nurturing talent, seeking cooperation with business partners, and contributing to society will be key to the overhaul, he said.

He encouraged the executives and employees to seek ways to enhance competitiveness and to focus on the convergence and integration of industries and technologies to pioneer new businesses.

LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo also emphasized preparations for obstacles that lie ahead.

“Every member of this company should recognize that we are coming to a crisis and be resolute to overcome it,” the LG Group chairman said.

The chairman stressed four major goals for the year: achieving meaningful results with leading products, nurturing new core businesses, putting customers first and growing together with society.

LG Electronics vice chairman Koo Bon-joon also said the tech firm should overcome the imminent crisis this year and take a big leap in business.

He recommended its executives and employees to set concrete plans, make swift execution, achieve efficiency by seeking cooperation, and stick to the standard rules.

“Take a bold challenge to expand our influence and become a leader in the market,” the vice chairman told his staff.

Hyundai Motor Group chairman Chung Mong-koo announced the car company’s business target to produce and ship around 7.9 million vehicles in the global market at the event to herald the beginning of its business operations this year at its headquarters in Seoul.

“The company will pave the ground for future growth this year,” Chung said.

Kim Chang-geun, interim chief of SK Group for chairman Chey Tae-won, did not hide his disappointment over the firm’s sluggish business results across the affiliates except for its semiconductor business SK Hynix.

“The company will achieve 300 trillion won in corporate value,” he noted, asking the group’s subsidiaries to contribute to reinforcing autonomous and responsible business management.

Beefing up its current business operations and making seamless preparations for long-term growth were the key requests for officials at Lotte Group from Shin Kyuk-ho, founder of the fifth-largest conglomerate in Korea.

“By making precise decisions and preparing well, 2014 can be a more meaningful year than any other,” chairman Shin said.

Shin also expressed his high expectations for growth this year on the back of the opening of businesses including Lotte World Tower, a landmark building and an amusement park in Seoul, and the Lotte Center Hanoi, a shopping mall in the capital of Vietnam.

By Kim Young-won (