Kolon Group chairman Lee Woong-yeol unexpectedly declared on Nov. 28 that he would step down from all his posts within the group next year.
Lee, 63, has run the textile group for 23 years since he took over its helm from the late Lee Dong-chan, his father and the son of Lee Won-man, the group’s founder, in 1996.
The group released a press release, saying that chairman Lee will step down from his position in all affiliates, including its holding company Kolon Corp. and Kolon Industries, starting Jan. 1 next year.
Lee leaves the group without designating his successor. His son, Lee Kyu-ho, 35, was promoted to executive director of strategy planning for Kolon Industries on Nov. 28 and was named chief operating officer of the company’s FnC Division. But the outgoing chairman did not hand over the group chairman's post to the junior Lee.
"I will not be involved in the management of the group from next year," chairman Lee said at an event held at Kolon One & Only Tower in Seoul.
The Kolon Group will form a consultative body consisting of CEOs of major affiliates to handle the group’s major issues. The new organization, dubbed the One & Only committee, will be led by Yoo Seok-jin, 54, vice president and CEO of Kolon Corp., who was promoted to president.
The outgoing chairman also confirmed his resignation through a letter to employees posted on the company's intranet.
"I will now return to being a young man and start a new business, using my experience and knowledge that I have accumulated in Kolon," Lee said.
Lee stopped short of specifying what kind of business he would launch after leaving Kolon.
“I have decided to step down because this is the best time for me to leave the group,” Lee said. Quoting his late father as saying, “New businesses should be left to younger people,” Lee said he decided to go for another takeoff of the group.