The Korea Herald


KT to appoint new CEO upon shareholder approval later in Aug.

Telecom giant posts 12-year record-high Q2 operating profit

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Aug. 7, 2023 - 18:08

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KT Corp.'s CEO nominee Kim Young-shub (Yonhap) KT Corp.'s CEO nominee Kim Young-shub (Yonhap)

South Korean telecom giant, KT Corp., said Monday that its CEO nominee will be appointed as the company’s new chief by taking shareholders’ votes at the extraordinary shareholders meeting slated for the end of this month.

KT Chief Financial Officer Kim Young-jin said at the company’s earnings conference that the firm will improve business performance in the latter half this year under a stable management system and strive to improve corporate value with the CEO nominee taking the top position.

On Friday, the telecom giant's board of directors nominated Kim Young-shub, former CEO of IT service provider LG CNS, as its new leader, after months of a leadership vacuum. He was one of the three candidates on the list along with Park Yoon-young, a former president at KT, and Cha Sang-kyun, a professor at Seoul National University.

Regarding the board members’ decisions to choose the former LG CNS chief as the CEO nominee, Kim said, “He was seen as the best person to grow KT into a global digital platform firm based on his abundant expertise in ICT and digital transformation, and essence-oriented growth and innovative management.”

The KT CFO also added that the CEO nominee was highly evaluated as both an ICT and management expertise with his previous roles as a CFO at LG CNS and LG Uplus, in addition to his seven-year term as a CEO at LG CNS.

“He had significantly improved sales and operating profits while serving as the division head and CEO at LG CNS,” Kim said. “It seems that the nominee was given a high score for leading the digital innovation ecosystem based on ICT expertise accumulated over a long time. He also suggested specific plans for building infrastructure and providing services suitable for digital ICT to the board of directors during his in-depth interview.”

The CEO appointment will be finalized at a shareholders meeting on Aug. 30, the CFO said.

If approved, the former LG CNS chief will lead KT, whose leadership has remained vacant since March, when the company’s former CEO, Ku Hyeon-mo, stepped down from the top spot after failing to win shareholders' approval for another three-year term.

KT has faced an unprecedented leadership vacuum for months as the state-run National Pension Service, the largest shareholder in KT, voiced opposition to the company’s decision to endorse subsequent CEO nominees and directors.

Once Kim takes on the position, he will share his vision and management strategies separately, but the specific timing has not yet been decided, the CFO said. The telecom giant’s new board of directors will announce new shareholder return policies after the chief appointment, he added.

Before Monday’s earnings call, KT released its quarterly earnings reports for the April-June period after the closing of the Korea Exchange.

Its operating profit rose 25.5 percent on-year to 576.1 billion won ($441 million) for the second quarter, the highest in any second quarter since 2011. The figure was also higher than the consensus of 520.4 billion won by local analysts provided by market intelligence firm FnGuide.

The company's sales increased 3.7 percent on-year to 6.54 trillion won, surpassing the 6.5 trillion won mark for the first time on a second-quarter basis since 2010. It also slightly exceeded market expectations of 6.53 trillion won. The net profit came to 432.5 billion won in the three months, up 19 percent from a year earlier.

Following KT’s announcement on its better-than-expected performance in the second quarter, the firm's shares gained 4.07 percent to close at 32,000 won on the country’s main bourse Kospi, Monday.