Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee asked his executive members to change the group once again, including business strategies, hardware processes, and corporate culture. The Chairman asked something similar 21 years ago. His remarks this time are to better cope with the rapid change in the business environment as of late and ensure greater global competitiveness.
On January 2, the Samsung Group held a kick-off meeting for 2014 at the Shilla Hotel located in Jangchung-dong, Seoul. It was attended by the more than 1,800 top management members of the company.
“Last year, we had to struggle to compete with global leaders and deal with a series of patent lawsuits while the low growth trend continued to shrink our markets,” he said, adding, “Nevertheless, we stepped up our investment and focused on technological development to further sharpen our competitive edge and come up with better business results.” He continued, “However, during the 20 years of our New Management, some of the subsidiaries have topped the global markets, but the others could not, and the former are in the face of cut-throat competition while the time is ticking for the latter.”
The Chairman went on to say, “This means that we have to renovate ourselves yet again, because the business models and strategies, hardware processes and corporate culture of five and 10 years ago do not work any longer. Let’s get rid of oldfashioned ways of thinking, systems, and practices. We need to break technological and market limitations in order to take the initiative amid prevalent uncertainties. I would like to ask all of you to be more immersed in technological innovation, business structural innovation, and systemic innovation for us to remain a global leader preparing for the future.”
He also mentioned that an economic recession brings more opportunities. “We need to create new technologies and new markets with a long-term view oriented toward industrial and technological convergence while keeping our rivals at bay,” he added.
Hyundai Motor Group
Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo declared the preparation for future growth as his group’s business goal for this year.
“In spite of the harsh business environment, we could accomplish a satisfactory result last year, but the competition is sure to be more intense this year as the low growth trend lingers on, and industrial changes based on technological convergence will lead to greater uncertainties,” he said, adding, “We need to further enhance our strength across all fields to set the stage for future growth, while innovating our global management for a more efficient and dynamic organizational structure.” The Chairman continued to emphasize, “At the same time, we will further systematize our long-term growth strategies and focus more on the development of innovative products and advanced technologies so as to create new growth engines.”
He suggested the global sales volume goal of 7.86 million units for next year and asked all of his employees to do their utmost to achieve the goal with a new mindset and resolution. The Chairman mentioned the significance of new growth opportunities in the steel and construction industries, too. “In the steel sector, we need to come up with even lighter yet more robust new materials such as high-strength steel sheets and special steel products so that our vehicles’ quality can be enhanced. And, the construction business unit will have to develop innovative new methods and beef up its competitiveness in the environmental and energy sectors.”
The SK Group held a kickoff meeting on January 2 and expressed its commitment to reach 300 trillion won (US$285 billion) in enterprise value this year. “Last year, we achieved business results that were on the face comparable to the previous year’s, but most of the subsidiaries had a sluggish year with the only exception of the semiconductor arm,” said Kim Chang-keun, head of the SK SUPEX Committee. He continued, “Under the circumstances, each of them will have to shore up autonomous and responsible management to create greater values and reach 300 trillion won in enterprise value.”
LG Group Chairman Koo Bonmoo, in the meantime, asked his employees to accomplish more with market-leading products and accelerate the growth of new businesses to be the global number one. LG Electronics Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon echoed by saying, “This year is a critical juncture for us. We need to tide over the crisis and continue our growth by means of the maximization of structural efficiency, a stronger initiative, and our own way of working.” LG Chem Vice Chairman Park Jin-soo added, “Let’s offer our customers and clients with differentiated values based on advanced technology and perfect product quality, and continue leading the market.”
Kumho Asiana Group
Kumho Asiana Chairman Park Sam-koo mentioned in his New Year’s speech that the year of 2014 will be another takeoff for his group. “We will meet our sales and operating profit goals this year while renewing ourselves by completing the workout programs of major subsidiaries,” he said.
The chairman continued, “If we are to completely transform ourselves, we will have to achieve the sales target of 12.15 trillion won and operating profit target of 710 billion won no matter what and we are positive about achieving the goals in that the global economy is showing signs of recovery and the Korean economy is expected to grow 3.7% this year.”
He also expressed a strong will to normalize the business of Kumho Tires and Kumho Industrial, two of its major subsidiaries currently in workout processes.
In the meantime, Doosan Group Chairman Park Yong-man emphasized during his New Year’s address that his group needs to be systematically prepared for the global economic recovery on the horizon.
“The recovery itself will not bring fruit to us but the ones better prepared will be able to enjoy more opportunities in the market,” he remarked, adding, “The time is against us and we have to further accelerate our pursuit to remain in the top tier, which requires us to look back upon our ways of working, product quality and technological standards to wrap up any necessary preparations before the end of this year.”
Chairman Heo Chang-soo of the GS Group stressed the importance of the preparation for future growth through corporate innovation. “We have been engaged in various activities to be resistant to harsh global business conditions and achieved significant quantitative growth,” he said, continuing, “We have ensured new growth drivers by deciding to acquire STX Energy and so on, and now all of the subsidiaries in the group will create synergy through organic cooperation.”
Hanjin Group Chairman Jo Yang-ho suggested “one mind” as his key words for this year. “Let’s stick together and arm ourselves with one mind to tackle the current crisis,” he said. Hanjin Shipping Chairman Choi Eunyeong added, “Last year, we could get over the liquidity crisis and bring our business back to normal by dint of multifaceted self-help plans and financial support. We cannot deny that the long-lasting recession has weakened our fundamentals at least to some extent, but we, as a team, will turn the crisis into an opportunity this year.”
POSCO Chairman Chung Joonyang delivered his New Year’s address on that day, too. “This year, we will concentrate on business that guarantees higher profitability, while making more efforts to manage global business risks, promoting the growth of our core businesses and redoubling our soft competitiveness in step with the opening of the era of the creative economy,” he mentioned.