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Young chaebol owners bring new management styles

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From left, Hanwha Solutions President Kim Dong-kwan, HD Hyundai President Chung Ki-sun, and Lotte Chemical Managing Director Shin Yu-yeol
From left, Hanwha Solutions President Kim Dong-kwan, HD Hyundai President Chung Ki-sun, and Lotte Chemical Managing Director Shin Yu-yeol

By Kim Hyun-bin

A new generation of chaebol leaders in their 30s and 40s have come to the fore in management by focusing on new growth engines to fuel future growth, according to industry watchers Monday. The young CEOs have been expanding their business portfolios in new growth sectors ranging from aerospace and healthcare to blockchain.

Kim Dong-kwan, president of Hanwha Solutions, is considered to be the successor of Hanwha Group, and is leading the development of future growth engines such as space and blockchain technology.

Kim has been solidifying his grip within the conglomerates, joining Hanwha Corporation as an inside director at the beginning of this year. Hanwha Corporation is the de facto holding company of Hanwha Group.

"Hanwha Solutions President Kim Dong-kwan is on the path to becoming the next successor of Hanwha Group, the reason why he continues to expand his role in key businesses within the group," an industry official familiar with the matter said.

As Kim's group dominance expands, Hanwha's aerospace business is also gaining momentum. Kim is leading related business by serving as the team leader of the control tower Space Hub, which gathers space industry manpower and technology scattered across affiliates of Hanwha Group. He also served as a registered executive at Setrec I, a satellite company that Hanwha Aerospace acquired in January last year.

Chung Ki-sun, president of HD Hyundai, is known to be a close friend of Kim, and is also focusing on promoting new businesses using his past experience working in consulting and investment banking.

Chung also led the establishment of Avicus, an in-house venture for autonomous navigation solution, in 2020. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2022, the world's largest electronics and information technology exhibition held in the United States earlier this year, Chung emphasized, "The next 50 years will be more sustainable by becoming the world's best future builder, and we will create new growth that is different."

Shin Yu-yeol, the eldest son of Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, recently joined Lotte Chemical as a managing director in Japan. Shin joined Lotte Japan and Lotte Holdings Japan as a manager in 2020, and was recently listed as an unregistered executive at Lotte Chemical's Japanese branch.

The elder Shin joined Honam Petrochemical, the predecessor of Lotte Chemical, and started managing Lotte in Korea, and the younger Shin joining Lotte Chemical appears to be part of Lotte's preparation for a third generation of management succession.

After graduating from a university in Japan, Shin received an MBA from Columbia University in the United States. Shin is also following the same path as his father who graduated from a university in Japan and received an MBA from Columbia University before working for Nomura Securities in Singapore, Lotte in Japan and then Lotte Chemical.

"Shin Yu-yeol is following the path of his father, Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, from the college he attends to working for Nomura as well as starting off with Lotte Chemical, and he is being groomed to succeed Chairman Shin," an industry official familiar with the matter said.



Kim Hyun-bin hyunbin@koreatimes.co.kr


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