The Korea Herald


Samsung to dismantle medical center

By Korea Herald

Published : Oct. 26, 2011 - 16:07

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Samsung Group revamped its healthcare unit Wednesday by splitting Samsung Medical Center into three independent hospitals for the sake of management efficiency, officials said.

Currently, Samsung Medical Center includes Samsung Seoul Hospital in Ilwon-dong in southern Seoul, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital in northern Seoul and Samsung Changwon Hospital in South Gyeongsang Province.

The group headquarters appointed Yoon Soon-bong, former CEO of the group’s petrochemical unit, as president of Samsung Seoul Hospital and also controller of the group’s overall healthcare business. The current position of executive chief, held by Rhee Jong-chul, will be scrapped.

The nation’s largest business conglomerate decided to instead focus on building a comprehensive healthcare division specializing in new drugs, medical equipment development and serious diseases. Yoon’s appointment is expected to strengthen the business side of the hospitals’ operations, observers said.

The reorganization came at a meeting of high-ranking executives on Monday who discussed the low performance in cancer treatment at SMC.

Unlike other globally leading businesses of the group, the hospital has had difficulty competing with rival general hospitals including Asan Medical Center and Seoul National University Hospital.

Recent data by the National Health Insurance Corporation shows that SMC’s billion dollar cancer center’s performance is far behind its competitors except for lung cancer. The news apparently caught the attention of the top management of Samsung Group, including Chairman Lee Kun-hee, insiders said.

Lee has reportedly ordered Yoon to raise the competitiveness of Samsung hospitals.

“Make it the top in the world,” he was quoted by an official as saying while appointing Yoon.

Yoon is expected to coordinate the relations between Samsung hospitals, Samsung Biologics, Samsung Medison, Samsung Electronics and other businesses of the conglomerate.

“Yoon will bring up synergy effects involving the organizations,” Lee In-yong, vice president of the group’s communication team, told reporters. 

By Bae Ji-sook