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LG Electronics names strategy chief as new CEO

Incoming CEO Cho Joo-wan led LG Elec's withdrawal from the loss-making mobile phone business

By Nov 26, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

LG Electronics names strategy chief as new CEO

South Korea's LG Electronics Inc. on Thursday appointed its strategy chief Cho Joo-wan as the company's new chief executive officer, in a major reshuffle in its top brass. 

Cho, 59, has been leading the drastic business restructuring of the home appliance maker as chief strategy officer since 2020, including the headlines-making decision last April to pull out of the mobile phone business. The smartphone business division was saddled with an accumulated operating loss of 5 trillion won ($4.4 billion) at the time.

He will take office as CEO after an extraordinary shareholder meeting next January, while retaining the title of chief strategy officer as well.

"My mission is preparing for the future and leading changes in our company in a direction toward digital transformation and customer-oriented management," Cho told The Korea Economic Daily in an interview on Thursday. "For individual businesses, I will give as much authority to division heads as I can."

Cho noted that the company will undergo positive changes to be better valued in the market, adding that LG Electronics' corporate value increase this year fell short of his expectations. 
Cho Joo-wan was named as LG Elec's new CEO at a board meeting on Nov. 25.
Cho Joo-wan was named as LG Elec's new CEO at a board meeting on Nov. 25.

The incoming CEO was also behind the company's other key decisions this year to hand over the separator coating business to LG Chem Ltd. and to set up an electric vehicle (EV) powertrain joint venture with Canada's auto parts maker Magna International Inc.

His appointment was regarded as a drastic move for a South Korean conglomerate since he skipped the role of a business division head, a position deemed necessary in a career path toward a CEO. 

However, he was credited with keeping close track of the details of its flagship products and marketing strategies, based on his experience as head of LG Electronics' North American operations.

The selection of Cho appeared to reflect the group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo's management approach, referred to as a 'choice and concentration' strategy

Since taking the helm in 2018, the fourth-generation chairman of LG's founding family has sold off or shut down underperforming businesses. Instead, the country's fourth-largest business group has been concentrating its resources into its core businesses including electric vehicle batteries, automotive electronics and OLED TVs.

Cho is replacing Kwon Bong-seok, 58, who is moving to the role of chief operating officer of the LG Group's holding company LG Corp. next month.

Kwon Bong-seok was selected as LG Corp.'s COO.
Kwon Bong-seok was selected as LG Corp.'s COO.

Kwon will be filling the position left vacant since the group's No. 2 leader Kwon Young-soo this month took the helm of the group's electric vehicle battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd. 

Among LG Group units, two other companies decided on Thursday to change their top management as well: LG Sports Ltd. which manages the group's baseball team LG Twins and S&I Corp., a golf resorts operator.

Write to Hyung-suk Song and Su-bin Lee at

Yeonhee Kim edited this article

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