중앙데일리

Drive, Dedication and Doosan

[The faces inside KOREA’S CONGLOMERATES:DOOSAN]Openness to change has seen the firm from strength to strength

Jan 19,2009
Park Yong-hyun (66)
Chairman, Doosan Construction and Engineering
Bachelor’s in medicine, SNU
Doctorate in surgery, SNU
“Faces inside Korea’s conglomerates” is a weekly series about key figures in major conglomerates to help readers understand Korea’s business world.


Doosan Group, the nation’s 13th largest conglomerate, is one of the country’s oldest business groups, with a 113-year-old history. But Doosan has been anything but complacent in coping with changes over the last century.

That driven spirit is one of the reasons Doosan Group evolved from a small shop called Park Seung-jik Store, which sold linens at Jongno 4-ga, central Seoul, to a conglomerate with 26 affiliates in a diverse range of fields, from fashion to construction, publishing and heavy industries.

Doosan Group Chairman Park Yong-sung (second from left) cuts a cake with Park Bum-hoon, president of Chung-Ang university (third from left), on June 10, 2008 to celebrate his appointment as chancellor of the university. Doosan Group took over then-cash-strapped Chung-Ang University for 120 billion won. Provided by the company
As of last year, Doosan had 17 trillion won ($13.1 billion) in assets, according to the Fair Trade Commission.

The group’s public image took a beating due to a legal dispute between former Group Chairman Park Yong-oh and his younger brother, Yong-sung, the current chairman, when Yong-oh transferred power to his younger brother. The quarrel was even dubbed the “Brothers’ War” by local media.

But Doosan Group has weathered these difficult times and much more, including Japanese colonial rule, the Korean War and the 1997?1998 Asian financial crisis.

The group sold some of its affiliates, including the Korean branches of 3M, Nestle, Kodak and even Oriental Brewery, which was a core affiliate of Doosan, in the mid-1990s to secure liquidity and make a foray into new businesses.

Through radical reform and changes, Doosan Group transformed itself from a consumer goods manufacturer to an industrial goods manufacturer. This helped Doosan Group become one of the nation’s leading global players.

Doosan currently has 27 overseas plants, 91 foreign corporations and 4,158 wholesale dealers.

Brisk mergers and acquisitions have been another way Doosan Group thrived after the mid-1990s.

In 2007, Doosan Group acquired three business units from U.S.-based Ingersoll-Rand, including Bobcat Company, the world’s top compact construction equipment maker, for $5.1 billion, the highest sum paid by a Korean company in an overseas M&A deal.

In May 2008, Doosan Group took over Chung-Ang University, a private university, for 120 billion won. The group said in a release last May that by taking over a cash-strapped college, the acquisition was made to give back to society.

Doosan Group also sees education as a business area. The group claimed it would nurture Chung-Ang University as one of the world’s leading 100 colleges by the end of 2018.

Behind all these changes and decisions, Doosan Group Chairman Park Yong-sung steers the group with a so-called 2G strategy: Growth of People, and Growth of Business.

Chairman Park is the third son of Doosan Group’s late founder, Park Too-pyung. Too-pyung was the son of Park Seung-jik, who opened the linen store in Jongno. Too-pyung changed the name of the shop to Doosan Store in 1925.

Chairman Park is well known for his bulldozer-like drive. Under his leadership, Doosan Group took over key companies including Hankuk Heavy Industry in 2001 and Koryo Industrial Development in 2003.

Chairman Park’s two younger brothers, Yong-hyun and Yong-mann, support him in crucial roles. Yong-hyun and Yong-mann serve as chairmen at Doosan Construction and Engineering and Doosan Infracore, the country’s largest construction-equipment maker.

The three Park brothers are known to have a global mindset - not because they were educated overseas, but because they were open to new approaches.

For example, the Park brothers were ahead of their time when they retained U.S.-based management consulting firm McKinsey and Company in 1996 to prepare a strategy for the next 100 years when the group celebrated its 100th anniversary.

On the advice of the consulting firm, Doosan Group underwent radical reform, selling some of its affiliates to secure liquidity in the late ’90s.

Yong-hyun is a surgeon-turned-enterpriser. He used to head Seoul National University Hospital but later took office as chairman of Doosan Construction and Engineering in 2006. He has since focused his efforts on expanding the company’s business overseas by teaming up with Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction.

Yong-hyun also serves as head of the Yongang Foundation. The foundation provides scholarships and supports educational and cultural events.

Yong-mann travels the world heading every important M&A initiative the group undertakes. Since he is interested in hiring and nurturing new talent, he often visits college campuses to give talks about Doosan Group.

Park Jeong-won, vice chairman of Doosan Construction and Engineering, is the eldest son Park Yong-kon, honorary chairman of Doosan Group. Jeong-won is the fourth generation of his family to work for the group. Jeong-won started his career at Japan-based Kirin Beer.

Other than the Park family, Doosan Group has another six vice chairmen and five presidents who have their own expertise and skills.

Most of the vice chairmen and presidents are graduates of Seoul National University. However, they hail from various parts of Korea, from Seoul to the Yeongnam and Honam regions.

James B. Bemowski is the first foreign CEO of the group. He worked at the Seoul branch of McKinsey and Company for 24 years as a management consultant before joining Doosan. His specialty is improving the conglomerate’s financial structure and restructuring Doosan affiliates.

Kang Tae-soon is seeking new business opportunities after he successfully sold Doosan’s liquor unit to Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. earlier this month for 503 billion won.

Lee Jae-kyung is a financial expert and serves in the role of chief financial officer. He is considered one of the key brains at Doosan.

Chung Ji-taik used to serve at governmental organizations. He also passed a state examination and has a wide circle of contacts in political, business and government circles.

Choe Sung-chul is an old hand in the nation’s machinery industry. He has worked for various machinery-related departments and affiliates of Doosan for over 30 years. He also heads the Korea Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association.

Park Gee-won is a heavy industry expert. He led the group’s heavy industries unit to win the highest amount of orders, worth 7 trillion won, in 2007 among the nation’s heavy industries companies.

Kim Yong-sung is often dubbed a strategist because of his experience working for McKinsey and Company from 1992 to 2000.

Kim Ki-dong is a construction expert, having spent most of his life at overseas construction sites in countries such as Libya.

Lee Sung-hee sticks to an on-the-spot management policy. This management philosophy led Doosan Engine to have the second-highest market share in the world’s engine market for large vessels as of last year.

By Sung So-young Staff Reporter [so@joongang.co.kr]



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