HHI boss says ‘gloomy’ layoffs will finally end

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HHI boss says ‘gloomy’ layoffs will finally end

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Chairman Kwon Oh-gap declared Monday that the company will stop cutting back on its workforce to overcome financial hardship caused by poor business performance over the past few years.

In a statement the company handed out to employees in the morning, Kwon said that the process of restructuring is about to end and efforts to reduce expenses have produced positive results.

“There will be no more restructuring of our workforce,” Kwon said in the statement. “It is time to remove the gloomy atmosphere caused by the large-scale restructuring and put our best efforts into helping the company survive.”

In the past few months, the nation’s leading shipbuilder has been slashing workers as operating profit dropped to 800 billion won ($718 million) in 2013 from 20 trillion won in 2012, then to minus 3.25 trillion won last year, the biggest loss ever. After becoming chief of the sinking ship in September, the 64-year-old declared a large-scale restructuring. It eliminated more than 30 percent of its executives in November - or 81 out of 262 positions - and announced a plan to reduce administrative workers at the managerial level or higher, resulting in about 1,500 administrative workers leaving the company through May.

Kwon also revealed a new management plan.

“I will delegate my authority to the head of each business division including production, sales and human resources so each of them can operate more autonomously,” he said. “Each division will be allowed to hire people they need and to train workers on their own and also will be allowed to run their own rewards and punishment systems on workers’ performances.”

Kwon said the company will listen to the opinions of employees.

“We will provide more opportunities for the leadership and employees, no matter whether they are production or administrative workers, to communicate with each other,” Kwon said.

The company also promised a 1 million won bonus to all employees to commemorate the 2,000th ship delivered, an industry record.


BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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