The Korea Herald


Top conglomerates to start executive reshuffles

By Jo He-rim

Published : Nov. 23, 2023 - 18:05

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LG Twin Tower in Yeouido, western Seoul. (Yonhap) LG Twin Tower in Yeouido, western Seoul. (Yonhap)

South Korean conglomerates are set to carry out regular reshuffle of executives to gear up for the coming year, starting with LG Group this week.

Samsung Electronics, SK Group and Hyundai Motor Group, the top three conglomerates in order, are expected to conduct their regular executive reshuffles as late as early December.

On Thursday, LG Display appointed Jeong Cheol-dong, currently LG Innotek president as its new chief executive officer in the regular reshuffle on Thursday. Jeong is an LG veteran who has served in a number of LG Group affiliates including LG Display and LG Chem for 40 years.

LG Corp. also announced executives promotions on the same day, as LG Energy Solution and LG Chem carried out reshuffles the day before. The remaining LG affiliates, including LG Display, LG Electronics and LG Uplus are expected to announce their executive reshuffles this week.

LG Energy Solution's board of directors appointed President Kim Dong-myung as its new CEO starting next year, replacing the iconic leader Kwon Young-soo, a chemical specialist who served the LG Group for 44 years leading several LG affiliates including LG Display and LG Uplus.

The latest appointment is seen as a generational shift, with Kim being 12 years younger than Kwon. With Kwon's resignation, all the chiefs who were leading six LG affiliates when LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo came into office in 2018, have all been replaced.

LG Corp. Vice Chairman Kwon Bong-seok and LG Chem Vice Chairman Shin Hak-cheol are expected to remain in their position.

Samsung Electronics, the country's largest company, is expected to conduct a personnel reshuffle in early December. Eyes are on whether the two vice chairmen, Han Jong-hee and Kyung Kye-hyun, who lead the key mobile device and semiconductor divisions, will retain their positions, as the company is experiencing serious slump in earnings.

The envisioned executive reshuffle is the Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Jae-yong's second since taking up the position in November last year.

Han currently oversees the division in charge of mobile phones, TV and consumer electronics, while Kyung is in charge of the chips division.

While Samsung has been recording disappointing profits this year, the two leaders are likely to stay in the wake of the battered chips market and sluggish demand. Samsung would also likely seek for stability in leadership with Lee facing a decisive ruling in January over alleged merger fraud.

There are also speculations that a new vice chairman could be appointed to take some of the burdens off Han's shoulders.

Meanwhile, there are also rumors that Samsung will relaunch an office that acts as a "control tower," similar to the Corporate Strategy Office that was dissolved in 2017 after its involvement in a massive influence-peddling scandal which led to the impeachment of then-President Park Geun-hye.

The Corporate Strategy Office, better known as Future Strategy Office, was present to form a top-down relationship connecting Samsung Group with its many affiliates and establishing a uniting company strategies.

SK Group, South Korea's second-largest conglomerate, is also likely to announce its executive reshuffle in the first week of December.

While nothing has been revealed, some speculate there may be changes in the group's leadership as SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won stressed on the importance of "change" to handle rising uncertainties in the market.

SK Supex Council Chairman Cho Dae-sik, SK hynix Vice Chairman Park Jung-ho, SK Inc. Vice Chairman Jang Dong-hyun, SK Innovation Vice Chairman Kim Jun, and SK E&S Yu Jeong-joon are currently leading the major affiliates of SK Group.

Last month, Chey said a at a seminar of SK Group CEOs that a "quick and complete change is needed to survive amid the fast-changing external and internal environment."