Supporter of president to head Korean Red Cross

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Supporter of president to head Korean Red Cross


Kim Sung-joo

Kim Sung-joo, one of the country’s most successful businesswomen, was named yesterday the head of the Korean Red Cross.

According to the Korean Red Cross, a central committee meeting was held yesterday and Kim was elected as the group’s 28th president. Kim, 57, is the founder and CEO of the Sungjoo Group, a fashion retailing business.

She is the youngest nominee to head the Korean Red Cross and the first entrepreneur to be named to the post. She is the second woman to serve in the position.

Kim was also a key member of President Park Geun-hye’s 2012 presidential campaign. Kim was recruited by Park to serve as co-chair of her campaign committee. She was given credit for modernizing the image of the Saenuri Party with younger voters.

The Red Cross cited her international insight, successful entrepreneurship, active social contributions and creativity. Kim has received many awards for leadership and business achievements. In 2012, she was selected to be part of the “Innovation 101” of the DNA (Decide Now Act) Summit hosted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The Red Cross stressed that Kim has contributed to improving the welfare of women and children by supporting victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence, single parent families, female North Korean defectors and single mothers. It said she promotes world peace through relief projects in Asia and Africa and led relief programs in North Korea.

A graduate of Yonsei University, Kim studied sociology, international politics and economics at Amherst College and Harvard University in the United States and the London School of Economics. She successfully founded and led the Sungjoo Group and managed MCM Holdings and contributed to society through volunteer activities at home and abroad, the Red Cross said. She founded the Sungjoo Foundation, a non-profit organization, in 2009 and is serving as a board member of World Vision.

After her appointment is approved by President Park, who is the honorary president of the Red Cross, Kim will take office on Oct. 8 to start a three-year term.

The Korean Red Cross president controls a large annual budget, largely provided by the government. This year its budget was 633.33 billion won ($609.5 million).

The Red Cross president is also a member of the organization’s central committee, its highest decision-making body. Its members include eight cabinet members, including the ministers of finance, unification, foreign affairs and defense.

The Korean Red Cross Society was established in 1905 following the Korean Empire’s signing of the Geneva Conventions in 1903. After liberation from Japanese colonial rule, the Red Cross society was officially reformed as the Republic of Korea National Red Cross, better known as Korean Red Cross, in 1949.

Its first and major operation was relief projects for the victims of the 1950-53 Korean War. Since then, it has carried out a wide variety of humanitarian projects.


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