[THE INVESTOR] The leaders of South Korea’s largest family-led conglomerates on average took the top post before they hit the age of 50.
According to Chaebul.com, a local website that specializes in family-led conglomerates, the average age at which the current chiefs of the top 10 conglomerates operated by members of the founder’s family took office was 49.
Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn
The groups analyzed by Chaebul.com are those with assets exceeding 5 trillion won (US$4.38 billion) that are led by individuals who took over from the group’s founder, or from their parents’ generation.
On average the chiefs of the groups -- Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, LG, Lotte, GS, Hanwha, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Hanjin and Doosan groups -- spent 20 years working in various positions within their groups.
Of these, Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn rose to the highest post at the youngest age, taking over from his father in 1981. At the time, Kim was 29 years old, and had been working at the group for one year when his father Kim Chong-hee died.
Kim was followed by Chung Mong-joon, who took the reins of HHI Group at the age of 36. Chung held the post for about four years, after which he began his political career. Since the late 1980s, Chung has focused on politics, serving seven terms in the National Assembly.
At the other end of the scale was Hyundai Motor Group’s Chung Mong-koo, who became chairman of the group at the age of 62, after working for 30 years.
In terms of length of career before taking the helm, Doosan Group Chairman Park Jeong-won topped the list with 31 years.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)