March 27, 2019

LG Group’s low-profile heir steps into the limelight

PUBLISHED : May 17, 2018 - 15:26

UPDATED : May 18, 2018 - 17:01

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[THE INVESTOR] LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo’s hospitalization on May 17 has pushed his low-profile son Koo Kwang-mo into the limelight.

LG Corp., the holding unit, said it has decided to put the junior Koo’s board membership for approval at a shareholders meeting on June 29. The 40-year-old LG Electronics executive is the third-largest shareholder with 6.24 percent in the firm after the chairman with 11.28 percent and Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon with 7.72 percent.

“As it is inevitable that the hospitalized chairman will have difficulties in continuing his board membership, junior Koo, one of the largest shareholders, is set to join the board of directors,” an LG official said. “It is also part of the group’s succession plans to a new generation.” 

(From left) LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo, Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon and the chairman's son Koo Kwang-mo

The LG patriarch, 73, received two brain surgeries last year. He was hospitalized at a Seoul hospital earlier on the day reportedly due to complications after the surgeries. LG declined to further elaborate on his health condition.

The junior Koo was born to the chairman’s younger brother Koo Bon-neung, chairman of Heesung Electronics. Under the group’s male-preference primogeniture, the chairman who had no son adopted his nephew back in 2004.

He studied at Rochester Institute of Technology in the US and entered LG Electronics in 2006. After a year, he quit the company to study at Stanford University, California, but instead worked at two Silicon Valley startups for two years.

Then, he came back to work at LG Electronics’ New Jersey office in 2009 and served diverse positions mostly at appliance business divisions.

In 2014, he was promoted to executive director at LG Corp. and has been leading the new growth business division since late last year when industry watchers say his succession scheme to take the helm at the nation’s fourth-largest conglomerate was speeding up.

By Lee Ji-yoon (

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