SK reshuffles at top, with younger team

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SK reshuffles at top, with younger team


SK Group’s reshuffle Wednesday placed younger managers in core positions, pushing through a generational shift among top decision-makers.

As SK recently has been embroiled in a scandal related to Choi Soon-sil, the controversial friend of President Park Geun-hye, industry insiders had expected only small changes at the empire, however, heads of its pillar affiliates SK Telecom and SK Innovation as well as the chairman for the group’s top decision-making body, SUPEX Council, have all changed.

“The new appointment was largely affected by business uncertainties at home and abroad and we decided to take aggressive steps toward making the organization more agile and innovative in response,” SK said in a statement Wednesday.

Cho Dae-sik, 56, currently head of holding company SK Holdings, will lead the decision-making council. Current chairman Kim Chang-geun, 66, will move into an advisory role.

Cho, during his term as chief executive officer of SK Holdings, fostered growth engines such as drug development, pharmaceutical manufacturing and semiconductor material development, the company said. As chairman of the SUPEX Council, he will focus on linking affiliates under the group to jointly develop and foster new cash-cow businesses.

The council itself has been under a drastic reshuffle as heads of all seven committees of the council have changed except for Yoo Jung-joon, CEO of SK Energy & Service. The newly appointed heads are mostly in their 50s, while those older than Chey, 56, have taken back seats.

Among heads for major affiliates under the group, SK Telecom CEO Jang Dong-hyun, 53, was named to head both the group’s holding company SK Holdings and the ICT unit under holding company SK C&C. In the past the two have been managed by two CEOs but SK chose to put them under one leader starting next year.

Jang’s position at the nation’s largest mobile carrier will be filled by Park Jung-ho, 53, who currently heads SK C&C.

Chemical arm SK Innovation will be headed by Kim Joon, currently CEO of SK Energy, succeeding Chung Chul-kil, the CEO and vice chairman of SK Innovation. Kim, 56, will also keep his post as head of SK Energy.

SK Chairman Chey has constantly emphasized the importance of change and innovation. In a July meeting with CEOs and executives of 14 subsidiaries, Chey ordered them to “change and disrupt.”

“Unless we transform ourselves in this low-growth environment, we will fail to achieve stability and growth, ultimately threatening the happiness of SK employees and also various groups of people involved,” Chey said in July.

The new appointment is also expected to increase Chey’s governance as most new heads are close aides. The new chairman of SUPEX Council Cho is a college classmate. The new head for SK Telecom, Park, formerly served as chief secretary for Chey.

Apart from changes at the CEO level, 61 executives have been promoted and 103 employees were newly appointed as executives.

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