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‘Son of chaebol family’ eldest son succession speed battle… “It is the right time for a pro-business Yoon Seok-yeol government”

Since the inauguration of the Yoon Seok-yeol government, which advocated a ‘pro-business’ approach, the chaebol group’s succession of management rights is accelerating. Following Samsung · SK · Hyundai Motor · LG ( LG ) , the 3rd and 4th generations born in the 1980s of the four major groups are rapidly promoted and appearing at the forefront of management one after another. In the business world, there is a prevailing atmosphere that “now is the right time for succession work”, leaning on the stance of deregulation on chaebol by the Yoon Seok-yeol administration. The Hanwha Group is speeding up the transfer of management rights. Hanwha, which ranks 7th in the business world, recently reorganized its business structure with Vice Chairman Kim Dong-kwan ( 39 ), the eldest son of Chairman Kim Seung-yeon. Vice-Chairman Kim was entrusted with the holding company (Hanwha), defense industry (Hanwha Aerospace) and solar power (Hanwha Solutions), which are the main businesses. The financial sector, including Hanwha Life Insurance, was drawn up by the second son, Kim Dong-won ( 37 ), Hanwha Life Vice President, and the hotel, resort, and department store business by the third son, Kim Dong-seon ( 33 ), executive director of Hanwha Hotels & Resorts. Vice Chairman Kim became vice chairman of the group in August and established the ‘Kim Dong-gwan system’ to oversee key manufacturing affiliates.

Chairman Kim Seung-yeon, whose employment restrictions were lifted after seven years last year, turned to an early succession of management rights, contrary to expectations that he would return to management. Hanwha officially explains that “Vice Chairman Kim Dong-gwan will lead the implementation of Chairman Kim Seung-yeon’s ideas in the group’s future business.” An official from a business group familiar with the situation on the Hanwha side said, “Chairman Kim himself has experienced a management conflict between his brothers after the sudden death of his father. Although his judicial risk has been resolved, he chose to clear the road ahead of the issue of succession of management rights to his sons and three brothers,” he said.

There are also places running in reverse with ‘management management’. Kolon Group promoted Kolon Mobility Vice President Lee Kyu-ho ( 38 ), the eldest son of Honorary Chairman Lee Woong-yeol, to president last month and appointed him as CEO of Kolon Mobility Group, which will be launched in January next year. President Lee joined 스포츠토토 the company in 2012 and rose to the ranks of president in 10 years. Kolon has maintained a professional management system since Chairman Lee Woong-ryeol stepped down from the front line of management in 2018 . At the time of his resignation, Honorary Chairman Lee declared that he would not hand down a week if his managerial skills were not recognized, but the business world sees that the handing down of management rights has finally begun in earnest. Honorary Chairman Lee owns a 49.74 % stake in Kolon, the holding company.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, ninth in the order of resumption, had its holding company H ( HD) rose to the position of CEO of Hyundai. President Chung, who joined Hyundai Heavy Industries in 2013 as general manager, took over management rights of all of the group’s core affiliates in nine years through a rapid promotion. Chairman Chung, a 7-term member of the National Assembly, virtually withdrew from management while dipping his toes into politics, ending the professional manager system after 30 years and returning to owner management.

He is also wriggling with CJ and Lotte. Lee Seon-ho ( 32 ) , the eldest son of CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyeon , was promoted to the position of CJ CheilJedang Food Growth Promotion Director in the regular personnel reshuffle this year, one year after being promoted to executive (management leader). He is picking up speed again in a succession that has stalled since his 2019 drug conviction. The eldest son of Lotte Group chairman Shin Dong-bin (Shin Yoo -yeol , 36 ) also started an open domestic management move. He joined Lotte Japan as general manager in 2020 and was appointed managing director of the Japanese branch of Lotte Chemical in May. Recently, it has become frequent to appear in public, such as accompanying Chairman Shin on overseas business trips. In the business world, there is a story that it is time to turn our eyes to the succession issue now that Chairman Shin has concluded a long management dispute with his eldest brother and has been pardoned and reinstated.

Laggard group 3-4Se’s transfer of management rights is much faster than those of the leading groups. The fact that the succession work is speeding up in a situation where the group heads are in good health is also different from before. Lee Jae-yong, chairman of Samsung Electronics, took the post after 31 years since joining the company ( 1991 ) , and Chung Eui-sun, chairman of Hyundai Motor Group , took the post after 26 years since joining the company ( 1994 ) . Chey Tae-won, chairman of SK Group, and Kwang-mo Koo, chairman of LG Group, followed the inheritance and succession process after their father’s death. The chaebol family’s succession speed battle is being driven by the Yoon Seok-yeol government’s policy of deregulating chaebols, which advocated being ‘pro-business’. In the business world, the atmosphere that “now is the right time for succession work” prevails. A senior executive from the legal team of the 10th group said, “There is an expectation among the heads that the new government will create favorable conditions for the succession process. I think it’s a good time to respond to judicial risks or create favorable public opinion. There is an atmosphere of ‘you have to row when the color comes in,’” he said.

Since the inauguration of the Yoon Seok-yeol administration, various conglomerate regulations, such as the exploitation of private interests by the family of the head family and the distribution of work, and unfair support to affiliates, have been retreating one after another. The Fair Trade Commission abolished or downsized the holding company division belonging to the Business Group Bureau as the first organizational reshuffle since the inauguration of the new government. The holding company division’s main task is to investigate chaebol groups’ violations of the law, such as concentrating economic power and diverting work. The Fair Trade Commission also reduced the scope of family members and specially related persons who are subject to insider trading regulations to ‘within 4th degree relatives and 3rd degree relatives’, and expanded the number of exceptions that are not considered unfair support to affiliates by about two times compared to before. In the tax law revision bill submitted by the government to the regular session of the National Assembly this year, an amendment to the inheritance tax and gift tax law is also proposed to increase the scope of tax exemption for work driving and drastically raise the annual sales standard for companies subject to family business inheritance deduction from 400 billion won to 1 trillion won.

Lee Chang-min, a professor of business administration at Hanyang University, said, “President Seok-yeol Yoon is taking steps to empower chaebol leaders without even formally keeping a distance. He said, “In order for the parent generation to secure control of their children, various regulatory issues inevitably follow, but since the new government is giving a clear signal that conglomerate deregulation is being eased, it seems to be judging that it is the right time to inherit management.” There is no choice but to put a question mark on the management performance and ability of the 3rd and 4th generation ‘candidates for president’ who were

promoted at high speed . In the case of LX Group, which separated from LG Group last year , the eldest son of Chairman Koo Bon-joon (Ko Hyung-mo , 35) was promoted to vice president in 1 year and 6 months and took on the role of CEO of a newly established affiliate, but the group does not disclose even the face of the former vice president, let alone his career. Hanwha Group emphasizes “the achievements of Vice Chairman Kim Dong-gwan’s immersion in the solar energy business for 10 years,” but in other words, it is a disprove that there is virtually no experience in the group’s main business other than the solar energy business . Hyundai Heavy Industries Group touts “President Ki-seon Jeong’s ability to grow the ship AS business (Hyundai Global Service),” but it is more reasonable to say that it is thanks to the management of a net business division with a high proportion of internal transactions .

Yoon Seung-young, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (Graduate School of Law), said, “Apple’s Tim Cook rose to the top executive position succeeding Steve Jobs through an excessively fierce internal competition system. He believes that there is no reason to exclude the children of the head of state from being candidates for the next CEO. However, the most important requirements are management ability and the legality of the ownership succession process. The priority is to be verified by the market and the board of directors on an objective basis.”

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