The Korea Herald


LG Energy Solution names new CEO to propel growth

Battery specialist to take helm as iconic leader resigns after 44 years of service at LG

By Byun Hye-jin

Published : Nov. 22, 2023 - 15:21

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LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Dong-myung (LG Energy Solution) LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Dong-myung (LG Energy Solution)

LG Energy Solution, the nation’s top battery maker for electric vehicles, said Wednesday that its board of directors has appointed President Kim Dong-myung as its new CEO starting next year.

Kim, replacing the firm’s iconic leader Kwon Young-soo, is a chemical specialist who has been leading the aggressive overseas expansion in the burgeoning EV market in recent years.

The new CEO joined the company, then a business unit of LG Chem, in 1998 to work at a battery research center. The unit spun off as LG Energy Solution in 2020.

Since then, he has served in different leadership positions at the company’s battery business divisions between 2014 and 2022. In particular, he played a key role in securing joint venture deals with global carmakers in recent years.

Amid rising uncertainties and fierce competition in the EV market, the company said the 52-year-old CEO’s “young leadership” will solidify its competitive position in the market, based on his expertise in leading battery technology and creative business solutions.

“The new CEO Kim Dong-myung has a proven track record in the battery business and entrepreneurial success. At a time like this, Kim is expected to show leadership in making LG Energy Solution the No. 1 global company,” LG Energy Solution said in a statement.

Along with Kim, LG Energy Solution has named Choi Seung-don, head of automotive battery research and development, as vice president, and four new senior managing directors and 18 managing directors. Compared to last year, the company said it promoted a smaller number of executives due to challenging market outlooks such as the slowdown in EV demand.

Iconic leader leaving LG in 44 years

Kwon Young-soo, former vice chairman and CEO of LG Energy Solution (LG Energy Solution) Kwon Young-soo, former vice chairman and CEO of LG Energy Solution (LG Energy Solution)

With the upcoming leadership reshuffle, Kwon, an LG veteran who has led several key affiliates, including LG Display and LG Uplus, will be leaving after 44 years of service at the nation’s fourth-largest conglomerate.

In 2018 when Chairman Koo Kwang-mo took the top seat following his father Koo Bon-moo’s death, Kwon, the then-chief operating officer of LG Corp., the holding unit, also supported the third-generation chaebol leader’s smooth succession.

In 2021, he was appointed as the second CEO of LG Energy Solution, leading the battery maker’s successful stock debut last year, which made it the nation’s second-largest company in market cap.

Under his leadership, the company has clinched a slew of joint venture deals with global carmakers, including General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Stellantis and Hyundai Motor Group. Currently, its order backlog is estimated at 500 trillion won ($384.9 billion).

Despite the stellar performance, the company said Kwon decided to resign earlier than his term left as CEO until March next year to hand over the baton to the successor, who will be leading the LG Energy Solution 2.0.

“Next year, the global battery industry will be at a turning point. LG Energy Solution needs a young and new leadership that can move forward fast to win the competition and gain a strong foothold,” said Kwon, in a statement.

“During my term at LG, the one and only goal was to become the world’s best,” Kwon added. “I express my deepest gratitude to the late Chairman Koo Bon-moo, who taught me the power of perseverance and tenacity in leadership, and LG Group executives and staff.”

“I’m grateful to Koo Kwang-mo for supporting me and letting me achieve fruitful outcomes in the key businesses of LG. I send my support to Koo’s leadership in guiding LG Group’s future.”

Keen interest is being paid to his next move as several battery rivals, including Posco, are rumored to have contacted him with job offers. The companies declined to comment on the issue.