[Newsmaker] Hopes running high for KT chief nominee
Published : Dec 17, 2013 - 20:21
Updated : Dec 17, 2013 - 20:21
Hwang Chang-gyu

There’s a new man in the house at KT: Hwang Chang-gyu, a former Samsung executive who, if Cheong Wa Dae has nothing more to say about it, will become the next chairman and CEO of the nation’s second-largest mobile carrier.

While the company seemed to have initially hoped for someone with a KT background, most are ready to welcome Hwang and his expertise, according to those close to KT.

Hwang served as president of Samsung’s memory business division from 2001 to 2004. He currently teaches at Sungkyunkwan University.

Among the future challenges at KT, some of the biggest tasks Hwang faces will be improving profit margins, diversifying income sources and, last but not least, bringing about across-the-board innovation at a company that is often referred to as a “dinosaur” because of its size and lack of business acumen.

KT was privatized in 2002, but employees point to a deep-seated sense of complacency that derives from its past as a state-run entity.

Consequently, KT has only recently trumped LG Uplus to take second place in terms of LTE subscribers. SK Telecom has the No. 1 spot.

Meanwhile, it looks like the controversy over yet another “parachute” personnel move allegedly manipulated by the Park Geun-hye government will continue to rage on, as the nation’s top union groups have issued a statement expressing their concerns over the choice of a former Samsung executive.

Their argument is that KT needs someone with a more “transparent,” “non-Samsung” background to keep it from becoming influenced by Samsung’s “biased” management methods.

But this is happening mostly outside the walls of KT.

Within the company, there seem to be less complaints. Although Hwang may lack network expertise, many are hoping Hwang will introduce Samsung’s advanced business techniques to ultimately breathe new air into what is increasingly becoming a stale organization.

By Kim Ji-hyun (