Posco searches for CEO

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Posco searches for CEO

Posco, the nation’s largest steelmaker, is speeding up its search for a new skipper as its CEO recommendation committee will be chosen today.

According to industry sources, the company’s “succession council” held a meeting yesterday to winnow down a list of candidates for Posco chairman and CEO. The shortlist will be delivered to a temporary board meeting today.

Based on the list, the board members will approve a CEO recommendation committee that will review each candidate’s qualifications before making a final selection.

It is not clear how many candidates are included on the shortlist. Industry insiders speculate that there are at least 10. Last week, it was reported that the council received a briefing from a local headhunting firm about six to seven candidates outside of Posco.

The council has been searching for candidates since current Posco Chairman Chung Joon-yang, who has been leading the company since 2009, announced his resignation in November following rumors that he faced “external pressure” to step down. Chung’s term was supposed to end in March 2015.

The council is comprised of four members, three of whom are not Posco directors. All six members of the recommendation committee will be from outside of Posco.

According to industry sources, the finalist could be named as early as next week if one candidate receives top grades from all committee members.

According to company rules, the committee has to select its candidate at least two weeks before a meeting of shareholders, who have to approve the appointment. Posco’s shareholder meeting is scheduled for March 14.

According to media reports, Posco presidents Park Ki-hong, who is in charge of the group’s finances, and Kim Joon-sik, who leads the steelmakers’ investment in new business, are included on the list, while Daewoo International CEO and Vice Chairman Lee Dong-hee is also a candidate.

Candidates from outside Posco include former Nongshim Chairman Sohn Wook, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency President Oh Young-ho, former Posco Engineering and Construction Chairman Yoon Seok-man, Hyundai Motor Adviser Yang Seung-suk, and former Posdata (now Posco ICT) President Yoo Byung-chang.

According to a report from HI Investment and Securities, the steelmaker was expected to have had sales of 7.84 trillion won ($7.3 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2013, down 2.9 percent from a year earlier, while operating profit should have reached 539 billion won, up 42 percent from a year ago but still below market expectations.

BY JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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