The Korea Herald


KT’s new CEO rules out possibility of massive reshuffle, calls for unity

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : Sept. 7, 2023 - 18:14

    • Link copied

KT Corp.'s new CEO Kim Young-shub speaks during his first meeting with local reporters in Seoul on Thursday, after taking office last week. (KT Corp.) KT Corp.'s new CEO Kim Young-shub speaks during his first meeting with local reporters in Seoul on Thursday, after taking office last week. (KT Corp.)

Kim Young-shub, the new CEO of South Korea’s telecommunications giant KT Corp., vowed Thursday to make the company a leader in the digital era by converging the capabilities of the wireless carrier’s information technology and communication technology during his term.

“By raising the level of KT’s ICT capabilities, we’ll discover new businesses with potential, such as health care and smart cities, and turn KT into a leading firm that stands shoulder to shoulder with global companies from the early stages,” the CEO said during his first meeting with reporters in Seoul later in the day.

Kim boasted KT’s longstanding position in Korea No. 1 in terms of technology in the telco business and shared his belief that when IT capabilities meet the overall telco capabilities, the wireless carrier will be able to expand its business and advance into an “infinite number” of areas.

“If we can take the lead by combining IT capabilities, I look forward to using that strength as the (most certain) growth engine,” he said, noting that it would be too early to talk about the specific areas of the firm’s business focus with the converged capabilities since he just took office.

Kim also showed his will to put more effort into KT’s digital communications, or "digico," strategy, which has been introduced by the former chief Ku Hyeon-mo. The new chief also defined digico itself as providing innovative services to customers by re-equipping telco with IT capabilities.

Market watchers assumed that the new chief was considering a wide-ranging restructuring as the company could not undergo its year-end reshuffle due to the unprecedented monthslong leadership vacuum. But Kim drew a line against any sort of large-scale restructuring and chose to focus on harmonizing and stabilizing the firm throughout the year instead.

“Since I have to do two years' worth of reshuffling at once, I need to do it carefully. The next reshuffle should take place as a starting point to eliminate various problems that the firm has faced and should be an opportunity for KT employees to unite and start again together,” the CEO said.

“A company needs to reshuffle to become more dynamic and healthier, and there will be a normal level of replacements and recruitment, but we are not considering a huge artificial restructuring of several thousand employees, as the ex-CEO did. … At least not this year,” he added.

When asked about possible recruitment favoritism towards LG employees, since Kim is the former CEO of LG CNS and the ex-chief financial officer of LG Uplus, he showed his determination to focus on discovering talents within the company to move forward together as “one KT.”

Regarding mergers and acquisition plans, Kim promised to improve the company’s structure by bolstering partnerships or making investments in startups, putting quality ahead of quantity.

While his official term will end at the general shareholders meeting in March 2026, he said, “I’ll do my best in setting up policies and strategies to create a good KT and go home at the right time.”

The Thursday event was his first public appearance since he took office last week. It was followed by his debut at the Mobile 360 APAC, the Asia-Pacific leg of the conference organized by the UK-based mobile industry nonprofit GSMA, as a keynote speaker, earlier in the day.