|Hanwha Life Insurance CEO Yeo Seung-joo / Courtesy of Hanwha Life Insurance|
Alongside Samsung Life and Kyobo Life, Hanwha Life is one of the top three life insurers in Korea. The Hanwha affiliate reported the biggest rebound in terms of net profit last year among its local peers.
Yeo is well-known as a "hidden force" in helping the firm see better-than-expected earnings. It reported 196.9 billion won ($177.8 million) in net profit in 2020, up 71.8 percent from the previous year. He is also considered Hanwha Group's finance expert, spending a decades-long career at Hanwha's major affiliates mostly in finance departments.
Yeo took office as the leader of Hanwha's life insurance affiliate in March 2019. According to the company, the extension of his term must be confirmed at a shareholders meeting slated for March 15.
But chances are high that he will continue in the top job at a time when most insurers are placing stability over changes in their C-suite reshuffles this year amid uncertainties in the market. An unceasing pandemic shock also comes as a burden for most conglomerates to carry out experiments in top management appointments.
"Most leaders of the nation's top- and mid-tier insurers have been extended and this will continue to be so this year, as few companies are willing to take risks at this time of virus-uncertainty and prolonged economic doldrums," an industry source said.
Hanwha Life plans to establish a general insurance agency as a subsidiary in April this year. In a year-end message to employees, Yeo expressed hopes to turn it into one of the nation's most competitive agencies.
He added that he will focus on expanding the firm's digital footstep, as one of his major management goals this year. The local insurance industry is seeing structural changes as leaders are embracing the virus-induced digital paradigm shift by cutting their reliance on revenue from traditional sales channels, and expanding their presence in digitally-driven businesses.