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Chaebol family members rise in ranks young

Jan 29,2019
Chaebol executives who are also members of the controlling-shareholder family tend to be young, according to a study by the Korea CXO Institute.

The study examined 200 of Korea’s largest conglomerates.

Within these chaebol, 130 executives who are also family members were born after 1969.

Of the total, three are serving as chairmen of their conglomerates, with nine others holding the position of vice chairmanship.

At 41, LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo is the youngest conglomerate leader. Koo took the helm at Korea’s fourth-largest family-controlled conglomerate last year following his father’s death.

The two other chairs are Chung Ji-sun, 46, chairman of Hyundai Department Store, and Lee In-ok, 48, chief of Chosun Refractories.

The nine vice chairmen include Chung Eui-sun, 48, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, and Dongwon Group Vice Chairman Kim Nam-jung, 46.

A total of 38 owner family members hold the title of president, with 34 others serving as vice president.

Only twenty of the young executives are women, accounting for 15.4 percent of the under-50 list. They include Hotel Shilla CEO Lee Boo-jin, 48, sister of Samsung’s de facto head Lee Jae-yong, and 47-year-old Chung Yoo-kyung, president of Shinsegae Department Store.

The majority of the young executives, or 74 out of the total 130, are third-generation family members whose grandparents founded their companies. Another 45 of them are second generation, while 11 are fourth-generation members.

Fifty of the executives have studied abroad. Among those who attended school in Korea, 13 are Yonsei University alumni, including Hotel Shilla President Lee and Hyundai Heavy Industries Vice President Chung Ki-sun, 37. Economics and finance are the most popular majors.

The youngest executive is Han Seung-woo, 27, who serves on the board at lingerie maker BYC.


BY KIM EUN-JIN, YONHAP [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]