An Air of Rejuvenation at KOTRA

Agency looks to the future with massive personnel and unit reshuffles

The Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) completed a large-scale personnel reshuffle recently, replacing older managers by promoting younger deputy managers, KOTRA said recently.
President Cho Hwan-ik approved the personnel move that had nearly 64 percent of the agency's officers reassigned; many of them to positions at its overseas offices and new departments. The new CEO, who took office in July, launched a reform drive for the state-run trade promotion organization.
Included among the reassigned managers were Hwang Min-ha, head of the Operations Support Headquarters and three other headquarters managers as the company-wide personnel move involved 32 officers out of 50 manager-level officers of the agency, in what could be said was the agency's largest personnel move in a long time. Some 16 staffers of the desk-bound units have been reassigned to positions at overseas branches or newly created units.
The key move involved replacing those who began their careers with the agency before 1980 with younger deputy managers. Also, one of the key moves of the reorganization has been setting up a new unit to take charge of rapidly changing overseas markets.
The new units include the global sourcing team; the team in charge of finding new overseas businesses; the IT fusion industry team; the team in charge of supporting local industries; the KBC operation team; the investment research team; and contact Korea.
The overseas business development team will promote overseas economic cooperation and clean air projects or green business projects; the global sourcing team will take charge of supporting SMEs in the import of raw materials from overseas; the parts and materials industrial team and the IT fusion industrial team will take care of spurring parts and materials industries primarily to reduce the trade deficit with Japan and projects related to fusion in the IT industry.
The Contact Korea Team will be responsible for recruiting talented Korean professionals from overseas to work in their motherland.
The agency has also revised the work assigned to some of its units. The Project Advancement Team has been renamed as the Resources Construction Plant Team to expand the work on securing resources and winning overseas construction projects.
The Service Industry Search Team has been changed to the Financial Service Industry Search Team to strengthen the role of attracting foreign investment into the country. The Main Industry Team was changed to the Major Manufacturing Industrial Team to provide expansive support to the nation's key industrial sectors including shipbuilding, power, machinery and air carriers.
KOTRA, in an effort to effectively cope with the financial uncertainty caused by the U.S. financial crisis, has changed the makeup of the Global Korea Team to the Trade Information Headquarters to play the role of collecting high value-added trade information and jobsite information on the newly emerging markets.
For overseas operations, the North American and European Regional Headquarters have been renamed as the Investment Attraction Headquarters. China will come under the Overseas Advancement Headquarters. The Middle East and Africa will be put under the Resources New Market Headquarters. The name of the agency's overseas offices has been changed to the Korea Business Center to get rid of the bureaucratic air associated with the name.
Officials of KOTRA said the agency now will be reborn as an organization that can provide realistic support to the industrial communities thanks to the strong initiative by the new CEO to reform the state-run agency in tune with the changing times. nw

Pres. Cho Hwan-ik of Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency and KOTRA headquarters

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