Koo, John 1946–
Chairman, LG Cable
Born: December 11, 1946, in Jinjoo, Kyongsang Nambo province, Korea.
Education: Princeton University, BA, 1973.
Family: Son of Koo Tae-hwoi.
Career: LG Electronics, 1977–1979, director of LG International, Hong Kong; 1982–1987, regional director of LG International, Singapore; 1987–1995, senior vice president, then senior executive vice president; 1996–1998, president and chief executive officer; 1999–2003, vice chairman and chief executive officer; 2003–2004, chairman and chief executive officer; LG Cable, 2004–, chairman.
■ Before becoming chairman of LG Cable in 2004, John Koo worked with LG Electronics for over 25 years, from 1977 to 2003. He moved up in the company from director to chairman and CEO. He resigned from LG Electronics in 2003 to become chairman of LG Cable. John Koo was a very effective leader who liked to work and develop products for the digital age of computers and wireless communication. His successor, Kim Ssang-su, had much respect for Koo and said he hoped to continue with the work that Koo began: "on the basis of John Koo's accomplishments, I will do my utmost to develop LG Electronics into one of the world's top-three electronic and telecom companies by 2010" (AsiaPulse News, September 30, 2003).
THE EARLY YEARS
John Koo was born on December 11, 1946, in Jinjoo, Kyongsang Nambo province, Korea. He graduated from Kyonggi High School and then left Korea for the United States. Koo studied economics at Princeton University and received a BA in 1973. He went to work for LG Electronics in 1977, serving as director of LG International in Hong Kong from 1977 to 1979. He moved to the Singapore office in 1982, where he worked as the regional director until 1987. In 1987 Koo was appointed senior vice president of the international business division of LG Electronics. Through his hard work and dedication, he became the CEO and president in 1996. In 1999 the company appointed him vice chairman and CEO.
KOO BECOMES A SUCCESSFUL CEO
Koo defined his time with LG Electronics as the digital age. Information was exchanged quickly and relationships with clients varied from having one to one interactions to having one person working with many clients. In order to keep up with the times, Koo made plans to restructure LG Electronics. He identified four areas that would create value in the new electronics age: customer focus, mutual cooperation, market responsiveness, and products. He recruited high-quality resources to meet the demands of the digital corporation. Koo looked to Silicon Valley in the United States as a model for the Asia Pacific region and urged others to create an open network based on mutual cooperation.
During his time as vice chairman and CEO, Koo actively pursued a variety of business ventures for LG Electronics. He targeted an investment of $430 million between 2000 and 2003 to increase the presence of LG Electronics in China, which Koo hoped to create into an outpost for its advance into the global market. He also worked diligently at targeting the Chinese market for sales of cutting edge, high-quality electronics. His vision was a success, and LG Electronics became one of the largest electronics companies.
MAKING SUCCESSFUL DECISIONS
Koo appreciated his employees and the hard work they did to make LG Electronics successful. He also continued to create new goals for himself and the company. In 2003, for example, he set a goal of $50 billion in sales and a profit of 10 percent. He made specific goals for his company. He wanted to respond proactively to the network business environment by developing new mobile information devices.
Koo worked hard to create a positive climate within his company and made sure it was a fun and exciting place to be. Employees were encouraged to pursue their goals with passion and confidence because he trusted and respected them. Koo also compensated his employees well for their efforts and achievements. He knew that if employees were happy, they would be better workers. In 2004 Koo resigned from LG Electronics and became the new chairman of LG Cable, a leading South Korean maker of cables and electronics components.
sources for further information
"Kim Ssang-su Replaces John Koo as LG Electronics CEO," AsiaPulse News, September 30, 2003.
Sang-woo, Kim, "LG Cable Reorganizes and Keeps It In Family," JoongAng Daily, December 22, 2003.