Koo Kwang-mo took office as chairman of LG Corp., the holding company of the LG Group, on June 29 at the age of 40. In 2006, Koo joined LG Electronics as an assistant manager of the company's financial division and has since worked for 12 years. By becoming the chairman of LG Corp., he took the helms of Korea's fourth largest conglomerate with an asset of 123 trillion won (US$109 billion). His rise from a director to the post of group chairman is regarded as exceptional in light of the LG Group’s conservative management style.
Group officials say that the young chairman has inherited not just equities from the late chairman Koo Bon-moo but his pursuit of accountable management. They say that the young man assumes the chairman's post to succeed the roles and responsibilities of his late father.
The new chairman has plenty to do as the LG Group, which has 70 affiliates with an aggregate sales of 160 trillion won a year, badly needs new momentum for growth. He needs to create new growth engines, generate synergies among affiliates and adapt to the changing business environment at home and abroad.
“Much attention is being paid to whether or not there will be a change in the LG Group’s conservative management,” an industry watcher said.
In the market, many experts predicted that Koo would rise to the chairman's position step by step, serving as president or vice chairman before taking office as chairman of the group. The young man's simple resume and lack of training contributed to the prediction. But the group's owner family stuck to its succession principle: the successor of the outgoing chairman must be a chairman. They followed the precedents where honorary chairman Koo Ja-kyung took over the chairmanship of the group when he was a vice president and Koo Bon-moo directly became the chairman from the vice chairman position.
Therefore, professional managers’ assistant has become important for new chairman Koo Kwang-mo. As Chairman Koo Kwang-mo has no choice but to focus on grasping pending issues of the LG Group for the time being, it is likely that a system in which six professional managers are responsible for major affiliates will be strengthened. The six are LG Corp. vice chairman Ha Hyun-hee, LG Electronics vice chairman Cho Sung-jin, LG Display vice chairman Han Sang-beom, LG Household & Health Care vice chairman Jung Suk-Yong, LG U+ vice chairman Kwon Young-soo, LG Chem vice chairman Park Jin-soo and are expected to play key roles in supporting Koo Kwang-mo during the process to stabilize the management system for the fourth-generation chairman of the LG Group. Some experts say that chairman Koo Kwang-mo may choose another person as an assistant for him but a prevailing opinion is that the possibility is slim when taking into account the stabilization of the organization and chairman Koo Kwang-mo’s short career.