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Leadership change

LS Group chairman touted as new KITA head

Feb 15, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LS Group Chairman Koo Ja-yeol
LS Group Chairman Koo Ja-yeol

The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) is expected to begin the appointment process for its new chair this week. South Korean conglomerate LS Group Chairman Koo Ja-yeol has been named a strong candidate.

"We're going to have an executive board meeting on Tuesday to discuss the appointment process. Chairman Koo is likely to be named as the sole candidate," said an industry official on Feb. 15.

According to financial industry officials, the KITA executive board members all agreed that a chairperson from the private sector should be elected, considering that the previous five chairs were all ex-government officials. It is understood that the government will not be intervening in the appointment process.

After the Tuesday meeting, the trade association is expected to elect Koo in a follow-up executive board meeting slated for Feb. 19. The incoming chair with a three-year term will be officially appointed after voting at a general meeting on Feb. 24.

The KITA executive board members have proposed the trade association's 31st chair position to Koo since his rich experience would help the trade industry, which has been struggling amid the COVID-19 crisis.

If Koo becomes the new KITA head, he would be following the footsteps of his late father, Koo Pyong-hwoi, who served as the trade association's chairman between 1994 and 1999. 

Meanwhile, the current chairman Kim Young-ju was initially expected to serve another term before expressing the intent to resign. Chairman Kim became KITA's 29th chairman in November 2017 and served a consecutive term as the 30th chair.

Write to Kang Kyung-min at

Danbee Lee edited this article.

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