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LG chairman Koo Bon-moo dies, aged 73

He turned LG into the global electronics brand we know today

LG chairman Koo Bon-moo has died, aged 73.

Koo has been seriously ill for some time but retained his role as chairman out of respect for his massive contribution to the business and the fact he was the third of his family to helm the conglomerate. He became chairman in 1995 and has quintupled LG’s revenues to ~US$150bn, over $100bn of which comes from exports.

LG had manufactured electronic devices since the late 1950s, but Koo pushed the conglomerate into consumer electronics and made the company the global brand it is today. He had particular success with display technology and home appliances, but also led LG into markets such as batteries in which it seems poised to become a key supplier to emerging electric car brands.

Koo’s adopted son, Koo Kwang-mo, was last week appointed to LG’s board in what was taken as a sign that he would take over as head of LG’s sprawling portfolio.

It’s not certain that the younger Koo will win the role, as the Koo family and LG’s charitable arms hold 47 per cent of the company’s shares. But Koo Kwang-mo has been groomed for the role with stints working on several of the company’s product lines. The tradition of Koo family control is also seen as deserving of respect, even if as chairman he leaves each affiliate LG company largely to its own devices.

A shareholders meeting on June 29, 2018, should settle the matter.

Koo Boon-mo is survived by his wife, Kwang-mo and two daughters. ®

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