New KT boss clears away CEOs of 52 subsidiaries

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New KT boss clears away CEOs of 52 subsidiaries

The new broom at KT, Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu, is sweeping the company clean of executives sent from government agencies and appointed by former Chairman Lee Suk-chae.

They are being replaced with career KT employees.

According to the nation’s second-largest telecom company yesterday, Hwang announced Tuesday the resignation of CEOs of KT’s major affiliates, including BC Card, KT Skylife, KT Networks, KT Rental, KT Powertel, KT M&S, Korea HD Broadcasting and KT Sports.

Hwang is changing the CEOs of 52 out of 53 subsidiaries.

The reshuffle came a week after the chairman replaced headquarter executives appointed by his predecessor and reduced the number of executives by a third.

The drastic reshuffles reflect the new chairman’s vow to concentrate on KT’s main business - mobile telecommunications - by promoting telecommunications specialists into top managerial and executive positions.

The CEO of BC Card, Lee Kang-tae, submitted his resignation Monday, and it was accepted. Lee had a year left on his contract.

“Thus, the executive vice president of BC Card, Won Hyo-sung, will be the acting CEO for the moment,” said a spokesman for KT.

Kim Il-young, CEO of KT Sat, and Lee Chang-bae, CEO of KT Estate, have already resigned.

KT Skylife CEO Moon Jae-chul and KT Rental CEO Lee Hee-soo were also told to stand down because their contracts expired, the company said. In addition, the CEOs of KT Powertel, KT Networks and KT Sports have been advised to resign.

However, Kim Joo-sung, CEO of KT Media Hub, is maintaining his position for another term.

More reshuffling within KT headquarters is expected this week.

Analysts are watching to see if Hwang, who served as president of Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor business, will recruit personnel from Samsung.

Last week, he named Kim In-hoe, former executive director of Samsung, as the head of KT’s finance department.

Hwang is reportedly seeking personnel from Samsung who have knowledge of telecommunications to try to implant some of Samsung’s management culture at KT.

Jeon In-seong, former KTIS CEO, was inaugurated as head of KT’s customer relations division, and Chae Jong-jin, former CEO of KT Telecop was tapped to head KT’s corporate communications business department. Those appointments leave the top positions at KTIS and KT Telecop vacant.

“As the chairman has announced that he will re-examine all businesses, including affiliates, and even close down unnecessary businesses, we cannot rule out the possibility that some of the affiliates could be consolidated,” said an industry source.

It is expected that more reshuffling will be carried out around March when plans for the restructuring of affiliates are confirmed.

Meanwhile, Hwang is taking his time to appoint two major positions at KT headquarters: public relations manager and future convergence strategy manager.

For the future convergence strategy manager, who will supervise overall group management, it is predicted that Hwang will appoint someone from outside KT.

As its function is similar to Samsung’s future strategy division, rumors that an executive from Samsung will be appointed are spreading. But a KT spokesman warned that conflict in the company was fanned when former Chairman Lee brought in personnel from outside and that Hwang will likely limit the number of outside recruits.


BY kim jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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