Perspectives from ISB

Doosan Group is the oldest and 11th largest family controlled conglomerate in Korea. It took its first steps in 1896 when founder Park Seung-Jik opened a small linen store in Seoul. The 120-year-old chaebol has since been led by each of the founder’s sons. Park Yong-maan was the fifth son to control the group.

Recently, Doosan chairman Park Yong-maan announced his retirement at a board meeting and recommended that his nephew, Park Jeong-won, take on the role. Through this announcement Doosan Group, the oldest business in Korea, has broken new ground as the first chaebol to be led by a fourth-generation heir.

Doosan Group may however face a probe from bourse operator Korea Exchange (KRX) thanks to a sudden surge in shares of group affiliates prior to the leadership announcement, which they say is indicative of insider trading.

Today the power equipment and construction chaebol has revenues in excess of 33 trillion won ($27.6 billion) with 1.7 trillion won ($1.4 billion) in net losses last year. Hence the generational shift comes as a surprise to many analysts considering Park Yong-maan was in the process of reversing Doosan Group’s recent poor performance. Last year, another South Korean conglomerate, LG Group, broke new ground when the “ultraconservative” business appointed its first female family member to top management.

Source: CampdenFB (