The Korea Herald


Dongwon Group heir promoted to chair

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : March 29, 2024 - 14:42

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Dongwon Group Chairman Kim Nam-jung (Dongwon Group) Dongwon Group Chairman Kim Nam-jung (Dongwon Group)

Dongwon Group Vice Chairman Kim Nam-jung, second son of the group's founder and honorary chairman Kim Jae-chul, was promoted to chairman at the group's board meeting held Thursday.

Kim’s promotion fills the position which had been vacant for five years since the retirement of the honorary chairman in 2019.

"We will inherit the achievements and management philosophy of honorary chairman Kim Jae-chul, who has led the Dongwon Group for the past 50 years, and discover future growth engines through bold investments," Kim said. "We will make the company loved and trusted not only by customers but also by all stakeholders, including executives, affiliates and shareholders."

Kim, 51, earned his degree in sociology from Korea University in 1996 before beginning his career at Dongwon Industries from 1998.

Starting from the grassroots in production and sales, he honed his management skills through various roles within the organization.

Serving at Dongwon F&B, Kim held pivotal positions including head of marketing strategy at Dongwon Industries, head of management support at Dongwon Systems, and later, as the chief operating officer of StarKist, the group's subsidiary in the US. He also served as vice president of Dongwon Enterprise.

During his tenure as vice chairman of the group since 2014, Kim spearheaded numerous merger deals and technological investments, expanding the company's business scope beyond the tuna industry into materials and logistics sectors, working to build a resilient value chain.

In 2017, Dongwon Group acquired Dongbu Express, repositioning it as a comprehensive logistics company. In 2021, the group expanded its business into secondary battery packaging by acquiring MKC.

Over the past four years, the group's investment in future growth areas amounted to approximately 1.3 trillion won ($964 million).

Under Kim's leadership, Dongwon Group is poised to intensify its focus on future-oriented businesses such as second battery materials and smart port systems.

In April, it is set to inaugurate the country's automated port at Busan New Port.

Although Dongwon Group's attempt to acquire HMM, Korea's representative global shipping and logistics company, failed late last year, industry insiders speculate that the group might revisit the opportunity after the new chairman takes the helm.

In terms of financial performance, Dongwon Industries, the group's holding company, recorded consolidated sales of 8.94 trillion won and operating profits of 464.4 billion won last year, marking a marginal decline of 0.9 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively, compared to the previous year.

But the group's food sector exhibited robust growth, with Dongwon F&B, a subsidiary specializing in food products, achieving a 29.5 percent surge in operating profit compared to the preceding year.