CEO Kim Jae-soo of the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp (aT) has been tapped as new agriculture minister.
The Blue House announced its cabinet reshuffle on Aug. 16 and appointed Kim Jae-soo as minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.
Agriculture minister nominee Kim is an agricultural technocrat with more than 30 years of experience in agricultural administration. He previously served as vice minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, head of the state-run Rural Development Administration (RDA) and head of the National Agricultural Products Quality Management Service (NAQS). Kim is viewed as an agricultural policy expert who has an in-depth understanding of major policies and leads by example in introducing new ideas and systems.
In 1977, he passed the 21st Senior Civil Service Exam and began his public service career with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), where he accumulated hands-on experiences in agricultural distribution and supply and demand by heading up various departments, including the market department, distribution policy department, food policy department, agricultural policy department and the office of planning and coordination. Kim also boasts ample experience in trade affairs: he worked as a liaison official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1992 and an agricultural attaché at the Embassy of South Korea in Washington in 2003.
Since October 2011 Kim has been serving as CEO of aT Corp. He is the longest serving CEO at aT Corp since fixed-term appointments were introduced to public institutions in 2007. He has been credited with spreading K-Food, raising the turnover of an ago-fishery product cybermarket (www.eaT.co.kr) to 2 trillion won and helping exports of ago-fishery products grow to 8 billion dollars.
Kim is expected to set his sights on nurturing the software-based agricultural and livestock biotechnology industry, which is on track to lead the 4th industrial revolution. In addition, he is likely to give priority to forming ICT-based agro-fishery smart farms and future-oriented farms.
Kim has many accolades under his belt: he won the top prize for his contribution to nurturing female talent in the workplace at the Korea Female Talent Management Awards in 2016 and received a Presidential Citation for his contribution to Government 3.0 (2016), an Order of Chevalier from the French Government (2012), the Order of Service Merit Yellow Stripes (2011), etc.