For industry captains, an artistic saluteMan does not live by bread alone ― nor by balance sheet or stock option. These three executives turned to art to help express their inner Picassos. Indeed, some would say their artistic flourish is what made them the successful executives they are.
Cho Yang-ho ― Chairman Cho of Hanjin Group (the owner of Korean Air) finds time to take photos whenever he can. He has 20 different kinds of cameras, which he takes on his business trips abroad.
His favorite photographic theme is flowers. His wife is keen on flower arranging, so the two work as a most harmonious artistic couple. Recently, Mr. Cho has added birds to his repertoire ― perhaps it has something to do with him being the head of Korea’s leading airline.
Mr. Cho has made a desk calendar for close acquaintances out of 12 of his best photos, among the 1,500 he took over the past couple of years. “The camera does not lie,” Mr. Cho says. “I love photography because I can preserve what I want in the manner I want to capture it.”
Kim Joon-sung ― The Isu Group’s honorary chairman is also one of Korea’s oldest novelists, still going strong at age 83.
These days he enters his study at 8:30 pm and writes for at least two hours. He is also publisher of a literary magazine, “Para 21,” and he hopes to work as a novelist for 10 more years.
“Writing a novel is the process of writing someone else’s story and turning it into my own,” Mr. Kim says. “In this respect, management is similar to writing novels in that managing a company is in fact giving back to society.”
A week ago, he completed the short novel “Orchard.” During his school years, he showed remarkable ability in writing competitions, but due to pressure from his family, he chose to major in business in university. Since leaving the business world in 1983, he has written 26 short stories and 3 full-length novels.
Kang Suk-jean ― The chairman of CEO Consulting Group and former chief executive of General Electric Korea has been an avid painter for 30 years, depicting the natural landscape and national sentiments of Korea in his paintings.
In order to pursue his artistic career, he left the helm of GE Korea late last year, after serving as CEO for 21 years. His atelier in Pirun-dong, Jongno-gu became his office.
Mr. Kang first became acquainted with painting when he worked in New York in his late 20s. A chance meeting with a young artist got him hooked on landscape painting.
“When I enter my workspace, it feels like my own world is open before me and I am released of earthly thoughts,” Mr. Kang says. “Proper management and painting require creativity and professional spirit”
by Ryu Kwon-hab
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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