LG, Lotte, Kakao join generational shift in year-end executive reshuffle

2021.11.26 09:42:57 | 2021.11.26 09:45:54

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LG Group, Lotte Group and Kakao have made a generational shift in their year-end executive reshuffle, preparing for a new leapfrog to be led by young-minded leaders in the post-pandemic world.

LG Electronics CEO Kwon Bong-seok was named the chief operating officer (COO) and vice chairman of LG Group’s holding company LG Corp., becoming the second most powerful person at the country’s fourth-largest conglomerate, in a year-end executive reshuffle announced by LG Group on Thursday. Kwon`s CEO role at LG Electronics will be replaced by current chief strategy officer Cho Joo-wan. Most CEOs at other affiliates such as LG Chem, LG Display and LG Household & Health Care retained their jobs, indicating that the companies have chosen stability amid lingering challenges from the pandemic crisis and global supply chain disruptions.

The most notable feature in this year’s executive shakeup is that a new generation of 132 executives rose to power, the largest promotions under Chairman Koo Kwang-mo’s leadership. Of these, 82 are in their 40s, making up 62 percent of the new vice presidents. LG Group executives who were born in the 1970s now account for 52 percent of the group’s entire executives at the end of this year, up from 41 percent a year ago. LG’s latest reshuffle is construed as an attempt to nurture future entrepreneurs with growth potential and expertise, while broadening the pool of CEO candidates.

Lotte Group heralded change and innovation in its leadership shakeup announced on Thursday by tapping former Homeplus vice chairman Kim Sang-hyun as the new head of its retail business and former Nolbu CEO Ahn Se-jin as the head of its hotel business. This is the first time that the country’s fifth-largest conglomerate have appointed leaders for its two key affiliates from outside the group.

Kim previously served as the vice president and country head of consumer goods maker Procter & Gamble (P&G) Korea. Ahn formerly worked at management consultancy AT Kearney and developed new businesses and business strategies at LG Group.

Lotte Group also revised the organization structure by converting its four-business unit system (retail, hotel/service, food, chemical) into four headquarters to ensure a more effective decision-making process within each headquarter.

A wind of generational change is blowing also at the IT industry. South Korea’s platform giant Kakao Corp. promoted Kakao Pay CEO Ryu Young-joon to co-head the parent firm with CEO Yeo Min-soo. Ryu’s CEO role at Kakao Pay will be replaced by vice president Shin Won-keun. Both Ryu and Shin are 44 years old. The change in leadership at Kakao comes after its archrival Naver named 40-something M&A experts in new leadership.

By Lee Seung-hoon, Hong Sung-yong, Woo Soo-min and Minu Kim

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