Owner-led management is drawing attention again. Although this type of business management has been criticized for a while since the IMF bailout in the late 1990s, its advantages are coming back into the limelight these days with regard to aggressive investment for coping with the current economic recession.
A typical example is the Samsung Group. Recently, Samsung Electronics’ profits plunged due to sluggish smartphone sales, Samsung Medical Center suffered a lot from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome scare while Samsung C&T took a hit from Elliott Management. Still, the group is rock solid.
“Since day one, Samsung has been in pursuit of organic management led by the owners, the Future Strategy Office, and the rank-and-file staff, and it is the owners that are at the center of it,” a high-ranking executive explained, adding, “The recent crises might have been much more difficult to overcome without prompt and bold decision-making by the owners, examples of which include president Lee Bu-jin’s temporary shutdown of the Shilla Hotel in Jeju that immediately followed the outbreak of MERS-CoV.”
Likewise, the Hyundai Motor Group is successfully turning the tables, led by Chairman Chung Mong-koo amid the ongoing weak yen, global economic downturn, and rise in the popularity of imported cars in Korea.
The Hanwha Group is another example. Since the return of Chairman Kim Seung-yeon late last year, it has signed a big deal with the Samsung Group and won a contract for a new duty-free shop. LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo and Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin are making bold moves nowadays, too. SK Group employees are seeking for the pardon or parole of Chairman Choi Tae-won for the same reason.