|POSCO Chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-joon speaks during a general shareholders’ meeting at the POSCO Center in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, Friday. / Courtesy of POSCO|
By Jhoo Dong-chan
Incumbent POSCO Chairman and CEO Kwon is set to serve another three-year term.
During the company’s 49th regular general shareholders’ meeting, Kwon was appointed to serve another term as chairman. The nation’s largest steelmaker has shown positive performances over the past three years under his leadership, a POSCO official said in a press release.
First appointed to the post as the company’s eighth chairman in 2014, Kwon has been praised for enhancing the firm’s competiveness in steel technologies and improving its financial stability during his term.
“Over the last three years, POSCO has raised 5.8 trillion won ($5 billion) in liquidity through a massive restructuring process that included selling non-core assets and saving costs amid the slowdown in the global steel industry,” Kwon said.
Under the slogan of “World Best, World First,” POSCO concentrated on steel technologies and introducing systematic marketing in the company’s business operations.
“Now, Smartness will be the key to define POSCO’s future for the next 50 years,” Kwon added.
“Under the new slogan, POSCO will focus its full competence on higher value-added products, including eco-friendly secondary cell batteries.”
Since Kwon came to the office in 2014, not only POSCO’s financial stability but also operating profit has vastly improved. According to the official, POSCO’s operating profit reached 2.6 trillion won in 2016, up 19 percent from the 2013 figure of 2.2 trillion won. The company’s earned profit ratio also hit 10.8 percent in the same period, the first in double-digits in five years.
Kwon also said he will actively engage the protectionist trade trends prevailing around the world.
“The U.S. government has pushed ahead with a plan to impose unacceptable anti-dumping duties on POSCO’s hot-rolled steel plate products. POSCO is considering taking the case to the World Trade Organization,” he said.
“POSCO plans to soon open a new duty management office in Washington D.C., signing a consultative contract with top law firms there.”
Kwon was also questioned over his possible involvement with Choi, the ousted President Park’s close friend during the press conference, but immediately denied the allegations.
“I managed to get rid of the false allegations after being questioned for 12 hours by prosecutors,” he said.
“Some alleged that I came to the post with Choi’s help, adding she is a close friend of my wife. They are all false allegations, and I will response sternly against such groundless rumors.”
However, Kwon partly admitted that former senior presidential secretary Ahn Jong-beom did intervene in some of POSCO operations in the past, but claimed his influence was modest at best.