Nam Designated as Next KT President
Nam Designated as Next KT President
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  • 승인 2005.07.01 12:01
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Nam Designated as Next KT President By Kim Tae-gyu Staff Reporter KTF president Nam Joong-soo was designated as the next chief executive of KT, Korea's top telecom operator, succeeding outgoing boss Lee Yong-kyung this August. KT said that its five-member president selection committee picked Nam as the next boss among 10-plus candidates after several days of screening. If the shareholders give Nam the nod in July, the 49-year-old will take the helm of the telecom giant on Aug. 20 for the next three years. "It is a great honor for me and at the same time I feel humbled because now is a crucial time for KT. I will do my utmost to develop the company into a global top-tier player based on my 20-year experience with KT," Nam said. Nam added he aims to create a novel form of leadership for the "New KT," one that will lead the carrier to discover new revenue streams. Nam got aboard KT in 1982 and has taken charge of key posts of the former state monopoly becoming president of KTF, a wireless unit of KT, in January 2003. Observers say Nam led KTF pretty well during his 30-month stint with the nation's runner-up mobile carrier against the challenge of business bellwether SK Telecom. Under his stewardship, KTF boosted its customer pool 17 percent from 10 million in early 2003 to 12 million last month, outpacing the 14.7-percent growth of the overall market. Market analysts say the choice of Nam is in line with KT's future growth target. "The No.1 task of KT is to put in place a series of convergence services, bundling both wire and wireless businesses and Nam is the right fit for the mission because he has experience in both fields," said Stan Jung, an economist at Woori Securities. Competition for KT Presidency Nam's victory in the competition for the KT presidency was generally expected after current CEO Lee withdrew from the race last week, which was crowded with more than 10 hopefuls. The 62-year-old Lee threw his hat into the ring but withdrew his bid for second term last Thursday, a day after Nam applied for the CEO. "Knowing that many qualified candidates applied for the top job, I am sure whoever becomes the next president will be able to transform KT into a global IT giant," Lee said at the time. With the threat of Lee gone, no other nominees seemed to pose a serious challenge to Nam's tender for KT's highest position. Other contestants included former KT senior vice president Choi An-yong; National Assembly secretary general Namgoong Suek; and Kim Hong-koo, head of the Telecommunications Technology Association. Analysts said the five-member president selection committee would give high scores on Nam's expertise on the overall telecom industry as well as on his business acumen. "Unlike current president Lee, who specialized in engineering, Nam majored in management and that might attract the selection committee at a time when KT needs a big overhaul," a Seoul analyst said. Seeking New Cash Cows As Nam himself pointed out, KT's biggest challenge is the lack of next-generation growth momentum at a time when its traditional revenue sources show clear signs of stagnation. Currently, most of KT's turnover, which amounts to almost 12 trillion won annually, comes from fixed-line call services and high-speed Internet offerings. KT carves out up to 93.8 percent of the landline call market with 21.5 million subscribers and also claims more than half of the broadband market with 6.1 million customers. The two markets have already hit saturation point and the stiff competition to attract new clients and retain old ones has deteriorated profit for all players involved, including KT. As a result, KT's turnover growth slowed to a snail's pace from 11.7 trillion won in 2002 to 11.6 trillion won in 2003 and 11.9 trillion won last year. The sluggish pace is in sharp contrast to the growth of the late 1990s and early 2000s when the operator typically chalked up double-digit growth. The stock market has also responded negatively to the dearth of growth engines as demonstrated by the declining share prices, from 53,500 won per share in August 2002 to 42,100 won last Friday. "The primary task of Nam is to find new cash sources to prop KT up in the future. It was also the top priority of the current president Lee, but he failed to complete the job," said Kim Kyung-mo, an analyst at Mirae Asset. KT now has its sights set on several new businesses like portable Internet WiBro, Internet protocol TV, voice-over Internet protocol and home network services. WiBro, formerly known as the 2.3 gigahertz portable Internet because of its bandwidth, will enable people on the move to remain connected to the always-on Internet at the speed of current fixed-line broadband. KT earned a WiBro license earlier this year and plans to embark on its commercial service next April, faster than its competitor SK Telecom. The carrier also plans to kick off a trial service of IP TV, which offers real-time broadcasting on the Internet, as soon as its jurisdiction disputes are settled. However, none of the businesses are making big money now and it is up to KT itself to prove landline telecom companies can thrive despite the increasingly wireless-oriented business environment. "It remains to be seen whether or not Nam and KT will be able to play the role of the trendsetter for the whole telecom industry. We will know the answer in three years," Kim said. _________________________________________________________________ Cho Named New KTF CEO KTF, Korea's second-largest mobile operator, yesterday named its executive vice president Cho Young-chu as next chief executive to replace outgoing president Nam Joong-soo. KTF, a mobile unit of the nation's top telecom company KT, held a meeting of directors and picked Cho to fill the boots of Nam, who was designated as next KT president early this week. Cho will lead KTF during the remainder of Nam's stint through next March. In order to take the reins of the carrier longer, he should win the approval of shareholders next year. The 49-year-old Cho, former government bureaucrat, joined KT in 1982 and has taken key posts of KTF including head of the network division since 2003. _________________________________________________________________

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