In Recognition of Brilliant Biz Leadership
Chmn. Ko of Hwaseung Group wins gold medal for the rapid growth of the conglomerate
Chairman Ko Young-rip of the Hwaseung Group won the Industrial Merit Gold Medal at the 37th Commerce-Industry Day on March 17 for his outstanding leadership in managing the conglomerate¡¯s rapid growth during its 53 years of operation.
The honor recognizes Chairman Ko¡¯s strong management style through the group¡¯s five decades-long history, which played a huge role in overcoming some dark moments in its operation.
Ko also has been cited for the group¡¯s social activities, which helped improve its image as a conglomerate, especially in the area of job creation when it was needed the most during the economic downturn.
The group had its share of management crises, like in 1998 when a number of its affiliates went belly up, but Ko led the group out of the crisis with his determined managerial policies, normalizing its operations in six years. The group¡¯s annual sales revenue quadrupled in the following year.
During the 1998 financial crisis, the group¡¯s annual sales amounted to 840 billion won, but it expanded to 2.6 trillion won last year and is projected to hit 3 trillion won this year. The fast rise in sales has been attributed to the group¡¯s global business operations and new growth engines that the group is pursuing.
Ko led the group to successfully operate in the footwear and auto parts production sectors around the world including the United States, China, Vietnam and India, among others.
The rapid expansion of the group has also been considered the result of diversified business operations from auto parts, high-tech materials, precision chemicals, natural resources trade through its global network and the expansion of footwear with the brand name Lecaf through the OEM system around the world under the group¡¯s selection and concentration strategy.
Ko said that Hwaseung has been a leading business group for the past 10 years because of its segregated operational strategies, and this year sales would reach 3 trillion won and in 2020 they would hit 10 trillion won through a new vision that the group will soon announce.
The diversified nature of the group¡¯s businesses such as international trade and new materials, in addition to auto parts and sports fashion brand products, helped the group grow in such a rapid way.
Hwaseung Materials, which is building its plant in the Myungrei Industrial Complex in Kijang, Busan, at a cost of 500 billion won, is geared to raise its annual sales to 1.5 trillion won by 2020. The plant is attracting a lot of attention in the industry due to its high-tech production facilities and new materials to be produced at the plant as the group plans to build its future business strategies around new materials and the trade of natural resources.
The group also plans to expand its global network to Africa and South America in order to boost its global presence, as Ko said the group¡¯s global network will play a huge role in the group¡¯s future business operations.
The group has 22 affiliate firms including 14 in foreign countries such as the United States, China and India, among others.
Chairman Ko started his career at the bottom and rose to become CEO. He left many stories in his path as a salary man with a number of nicknames such as ¡®owl,¡¯ because he used to turn up at offices at night to see if things are going all right, and ¡®firefighter,¡¯ because he saved the affiliated firms that went belly-up.
His brilliant management of the group was said to have been the reason the group got out from under court management much earlier than scheduled on Jan. 10, 2005. His initiatives in picking brand name sports products such as Lecaf, K-Swiss and Murrel and managing them successfully enough to make them representative Korean sporting goods have been so highly appreciated not only in the business community, but also in official circles, that it was no accident that he won the gold medal from the government for his management record.
He was promoted to chairman from vice chairman and he engineered the M&As of 11 companies in 1997 with his brilliant leadership and innovative ideas to build the group¡¯s major business around such key business areas as auto parts production, sports fashion brands, precision chemicals and international trading under his ¡°selective and concentrated¡± strategy. nw
w(left) Chairman Ko Young-rip of Hwaseung Group. Chairman Ko receives the Industrial Merit Gold Medal from Prime Minister Chung Un-chan at the Commerce Industry Day ceremony on March 17.(right)