LG Electronics replaces CEO after net profit slumps

December 02, 2019 | 18:22
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CEO Jo Seong Jin of South Korean tech giant LG Electronics has left his position after the company reported negative profit in its smartphone department for the 18th consecutive quarter and has been replaced by Brian Kwon.
lg electronics replaces ceo after net profit slumps
New CEO of LG Electronics Brian Kwon. Image source: Yonhapnews

LG Electronics has appointed a new CEO and numerous senior leaders on November 28 after the announcement of a 30 per cent drop in net profit. LG is South Korea's No.2 electronics company following Samsung, manufacturing a wide array of electronics like smartphones, televisions, air conditioners, washing machines, and fridges.

Brian Kwon, head of LG's mobile and TV divisions, will take the helm as chief executive next week to accelerate the company's digital transformation and improve its earnings.

CEO Jo Seong-jin, dubbed as the "washing machine genius", was appointed in December 2016, and is respected in South Korea for his unlikely journey to the top without a college degree in this education-driven country. However, he was not able to revive the smartphone department, which has just reported the 18th consecutive quarter of negative profit.

LG has been struggling in recent years in the smartphone market, where it faces competition from Apple, Samsung Electronics, and increasingly, Chinese players like Huawei.

Kwon (56) has worked for the company for more than three decades, having joined Goldstar, LG's predecessor, in 1987. He made a name for himself by defending LG's leadership in the organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display market against rival Samsung.

Though LG posted a strong third quarter, the company's operating profit for the first nine months of the year was down 11.2 per cent to ₩2.3 trillion against a year ago. Its shares fell by 7.1 per cent over the last six months, while the benchmark Kospi rose by 5.2 per cent. LG shares were down 1.1 per cent on Friday morning.

Analysts say LG's young chairman, the 41-year-old Koo Kwang-mo, is attempting a generational shift within the conglomerate, which has long been run by seniority rather than meritocracy.

Entering Vietnam in 1995, LG Electronics Vietnam now has three branches and two factories, 80 warranty centres, and about 2,000 employees across the country.

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