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KT Ku to conduct reshuffle to facilitate digital transformation

KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo speaks in a press conference held in southern Seoul, Oct. 28. Ku stated at the event plans for KT to make a leap to become a digital platform company. / Yonhap
KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo speaks in a press conference held in southern Seoul, Oct. 28. Ku stated at the event plans for KT to make a leap to become a digital platform company. / Yonhap

By Kim Bo-eun

KT is expected to conduct its first personnel reshuffle under CEO Ku Hyeon-mo next month, with expectations that appointments will be made to boost the company's ongoing digital transformation.

Ku earlier unveiled plans to transform KT into a digital platform company as he sees future growth engine opportunities in big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Given this vision, a key challenge is slimming down KT's affiliates and increasing efficiency, to become aligned with these goals.

KT currently has 44 affiliates in the sectors of finance, broadcasting, real estate development, online services, security, advertising and submarine cables, which employ around 64,000 people.

In a press conference in October, Ku hinted that affiliates that were not aligned with the company's vision could be restructured.

"I have grown into an M&A expert here at KT, so I have been contemplating structural changes," he said. "The deals are expected to pan out next year."

There is speculation that some affiliates may be sold off to raise capital to invest in Ku's envisioned new growth engines.

KT Skylife and card firm affiliate BC Card are key drivers of earnings, and in his first year the CEO has focused his attention on the former and K bank.

In a bid to solidify KT's lead in the pay TV market, KT Skylife is seeking to acquire Hyundai HCN, a deal that is being reviewed by the government. IPTV has been a major driver of KT's earnings.

As for K bank, one of the tasks Ku has to assume is increasing its capital. BC Card is K bank's largest shareholder.

KT was behind K bank's launch. Expectations were high given it was the first internet bank to launch in Korea in April 2017, but has been struggling due to capital issues. This has resulted in a significant gap being created with its rival KakaoBank.

After BC Card became K bank's largest shareholder, fresh capital was injected, allowing it some room to normalize operations which had been virtually suspended for a year.

Through BC Card, KT is seen to be devising ways through which K bank can build its competitiveness, by incorporating telecommunications services into its business. K bank's CEO Lee Mun-hwan was formerly the head of BC Card and also previously worked as key executive at KT.

"We are also waiting to see how the reshuffle will be conducted," a KT official said.



KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo speaks in a press conference held in southern Seoul, Oct. 28. Ku stated at the event plans for KT to make a leap to become a digital platform company. / Yonhap
KT CEO Ku Hyeon-mo speaks in a press conference held in southern Seoul, Oct. 28. Ku stated at the event plans for KT to make a leap to become a digital platform company. / Yonhap

By Kim Bo-eun

KT is expected to conduct its first personnel reshuffle under CEO Ku Hyeon-mo next month, with expectations that appointments will be made to boost the company's ongoing digital transformation.

Ku earlier unveiled plans to transform KT into a digital platform company as he sees future growth engine opportunities in big data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing.

Given this vision, a key challenge is slimming down KT's affiliates and increasing efficiency, to become aligned with these goals.

KT currently has 44 affiliates in the sectors of finance, broadcasting, real estate development, online services, security, advertising and submarine cables, which employ around 64,000 people.

In a press conference in October, Ku hinted that affiliates that were not aligned with the company's vision could be restructured.

"I have grown into an M&A expert here at KT, so I have been contemplating structural changes," he said. "The deals are expected to pan out next year."

There is speculation that some affiliates may be sold off to raise capital to invest in Ku's envisioned new growth engines.

KT Skylife and card firm affiliate BC Card are key drivers of earnings, and in his first year the CEO has focused his attention on the former and K bank.

In a bid to solidify KT's lead in the pay TV market, KT Skylife is seeking to acquire Hyundai HCN, a deal that is being reviewed by the government. IPTV has been a major driver of KT's earnings.

As for K bank, one of the tasks Ku has to assume is increasing its capital. BC Card is K bank's largest shareholder.

KT was behind K bank's launch. Expectations were high given it was the first internet bank to launch in Korea in April 2017, but has been struggling due to capital issues. This has resulted in a significant gap being created with its rival KakaoBank.

After BC Card became K bank's largest shareholder, fresh capital was injected, allowing it some room to normalize operations which had been virtually suspended for a year.

Through BC Card, KT is seen to be devising ways through which K bank can build its competitiveness, by incorporating telecommunications services into its business. K bank's CEO Lee Mun-hwan was formerly the head of BC Card and also previously worked as key executive at KT.

"We are also waiting to see how the reshuffle will be conducted," a KT official said.



Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr

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