Posted by: Ihlwan Moon on May 27, 2008
If things pan out as Chief Executive Officer Nam Yong envisions, LG Electronics will emerge as the first truly global company belonging to the chaebol, South Korea’s family-controlled conglomerates. Sure, there are already several well-known multinational companies run by the Koreans. Samsung, Hyundai and LG all have scores of subsidiaries and plants around the globe and the bulk of their sales come from overseas. But when it comes to management style and human resources policy, they all have more or less followed the traditional Korean way.
Unfortunately, many foreign talents who have stayed with the chaebol find Korean corporate culture to be suffocating. No more, says Nam, who took over the helm of LG Electronics early last year. That’s because leading Korean companies have reached a level where they must seek innovation themselves, instead of imitating innovative star players. “Everything boils down to the race to recruit talents,” says Nam. “We must attract people who are among the best in each area regardless of their gender or nationality.”
To get the message across, Nam has declared that 30% of 84 overseas LG subsidiaries will be headed by foreigners in three to four years against nil at the moment. In the past six months, Nam has named four top officers at the headquarters with foreign talents. They are Chief Marketing Officer Dermot Boden (formerly with Pfizer), Chief Procurement Officer Thomas K. Linton (from IBM), and Chief Supply Chain Officer Didier Chenneveau (from Hewlett-Packard) and Chief Human Resources Officer Reginald J. Bull (from Unilever). Nam says embracing global standards in every sense will help LG post a double-digit annual sales growth and a 6% profit margin from 2010.