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LG gears up for change of guard

05-February-2005
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LG gears up for change of guard

The country's largest consumer durables firm, LG Electronics, is gearing up for a change of guard.

After a seven-year stint as the managing director (MD) of the company in India, Kwang-Ro Kim is likely to head back to Korea sometime in 2006, and is tipped to join the parent’s board of directors.

The recent appointment of Moon B Shin as the deputy managing director in India is part of the company’s succession planning, said YV Verma, director (HR) LG India.

“The exact timing and details of the change haven’t been worked out as yet but Shin would definitely be the company’s next MD in India,” he said.

Late last year, Kim was elevated as the president of LG in south west Asia and in the process he joined the league of top five people running LG Electronics’ operations globally.

Kim in an interview to Business Standard last year had hinted that only a Korean would succeed him in India. “Communicating with the Korean headquarters would be very difficult for an Indian managing director,” he had said.

Before coming to India, Shin was LG’s head of overseas sales and marketing operations. According to LG India officials, the appointment of such a senior executive, handpicked by Kim from LG’s global ranks shows the importance of the Indian market in the company’s scheme of things. The 58-year-old Kim has been at the helm of affairs in India since 1997 when LG made its entry into the country.

Under Kim the company has attained market leadership in most consumer durables product categories like colour televisions, air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines.

Kim had also convinced LG’s Korean brass to invest $250 million over the next three years including a $60 million investment to manufacture mobile handsets — a first for any company in India.

Last year, LG also became an aggressive player in the IT products market and entered the server business.

The company recorded a turnover of Rs 6,500 crore in 2004 and has set a target of $3 billion by 2007 and $10 billion by 2010. Exports alone accounted for nearly $100 million.

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