Kim Dong-kwan, the executive director of Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials and eldest son of Hanwha Group chairman Kim Seung-youn, has been promoted to vice president. The promotion has pushed the chairman’s eldest son a step closer to the group’s throne. He is likely to come to the forefront of management when Hanwha Q Cells merges with its parent company Hanwha Chemical next January, leading Hanwha Group’s chemical, energy, and solar businesses.
Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials announced an executive reshuffle for year 2020 on Dec 2.
Kim Dong-kwan got a promotion only four years after being promoted to executive director in 2015.
In regard to his promotion, industry watchers say that the leadership succession of Hanwha Group has become much clearer. Kim will be in charge of the group’s major businesses including energy and chemical, and will control the group’s core business divisions.
Hanwha Group acquired four affiliates of Samsung Group in 2014, namely Samsung General Chemical, Samsung Total Petrochemical, Samsung Techwin and Samsung Thales. These acquisitions expanded Hanwha’s business in the energy and chemical sectors.
Now, the future of Hanwha Group is in the hand of vice president Kim. However, he is facing tough challenges, such as an influx of cheap Chinese solar panels, and declining profits of the chemical business which has entered a downturn.
Analysts forecast that Kim Dong-won, Hanwha Life’s managing director and Hanwha chairman’s second son, will head the group’s financial sector. Known as a fintech expert, he needs to find future business opportunities for Hanwha Life, the second largest company in Korea’s life insurance industry. Dong-kwan and Dong-won attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) held in Switzerland early this year.
The third son Kim Dong-seon is prospected to take charge of the group’s construction and resort divisions, but his return to management has yet to be decided. Hanwha Group says that it is too early to talk about succession plans.