Seoul, November 4, 2009 - Yong Nam, Vice Chairman and CEO of LG Electronics (LG), deliv-ered a special speech today under the theme of "Korean and Korea, Inc: Past, Present and Fu-ture" at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. In the speech, he focused on the rapid growth of Korean companies and highlighted three key chal-lenges facing Korean firms going forward.
Earlier in September, Mr. Nam accepted the Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship on behalf of LG Electronics employees at a ceremony held in Seoul. Lee H. Hamilton, President and Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, government officials, scholars and members of economic organizations were present in the audience. Mr. Nam joins a select group of high-profile figures who have spoken at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
"Korea's GDP per capita is now approximately USD20,000, which is remarkable growth from only USD100 in the 1960s," Mr. Nam said. "Total GDP has also increased six times in the nearly four decades since 1970 and the rate of growth is ranked second only after China in Asia."
Mr. Nam said sales from Korea's ten biggest companies amounted to almost USD200 billion, with half being generated overseas. One-third of the employees of Korea's ten biggest compa-nies are located outside Korea. LG, for example, generates 85 percent of its total sales from 160 countries other than Korea while 56,000 employees -- two-thirds of LG's 84,000 global em-ployees -- are located outside Korea. Since CEO Nam took over the top office, LG Electronics has appointed six non-Korean C-suite executives. The number of non-Korean executives at LG stands at 10 percent, the highest among Korean companies.
LG CEO Nam warned against complacency and suggested three priorities for Korean companies to secure global leadership against the backdrop of Chinese or Indian powerhouses: improve-ment in labor productivity, expansion into services and solutions and investment in human re-sources. He emphasized that manufacturing-focused business portfolios should move towards services- and solutions-oriented models as new products are launched and existing products are commoditized.
"We won't stop globalizing the process, system or organization," CEO Nam closed.