[FOCUS] The Chairman Who Would Always Listen to the Voices of the Field

2017. 9. 19. 15:56

 <The man I had Met, S.R. Cho> ep. 3

It was the early 1990s when I was working for Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) that I met Chairman Cho Suck-rai for the first time. I remember that he asked me via a third person to review a speech he made at an international conference. I cannot remember the details of the speech, but the main topic was Asia Pacific economic cooperation. In his draft speech, he revealed his opinion about the geopolitical aspects of the Asia Pacific region and the necessity of international cooperation among regional economies and businesses.

At that time, I thought that the speech contained a broad range of knowledge and was particularly analytical for a businessman's speech. I thought that the speech was like a speech written by a renowned scholar in the field of international economic relations or a speech of a government representative. I heard that Chairman Cho elaborated the speech several times even after I reviewed it. I thought that it was rare for a busy CEO like him to take that much care of a draft speech, although it was to be delivered at an international conference.

After that, I often met him at domestic and international conferences, but it was from 2003 when I was appointed an outside director of Hyosung that I became closer to Chairman Cho. To my surprise, when I attended the board of directors or visited overseas plants, I had the same impression of him as the first impression I had 20 years before.

Quarterly board meetings were a chance to discuss the performance and prospect of the group as a whole and each business area and handle major issues. Throughout my term as an outside director, Chairman Cho never missed a board meeting. In the meetings, Chairman Cho not only received briefings and handled items on the agenda, but he also liked to listen to the opinions of participants and discussing important topics. Hyosung's board meetings discussed a variety of issues, including changes in global economic environments, Northeast Asia situations and inter-Korean relations, the overall situation of Korean economy, as well as impacts of the FTA and exchange rate fluctuations. Chairman Cho showed a keen interest in economic relations with the United States and Japan, and actively participated in discussions. He tried to listen to outside directors and whenever we had such discussions, I felt as if I were in a post-graduate seminar.

During a tour of the plant, Chairman Cho carefully examined the operation of machines, facilities and the dexterousness of local workers and asked many questions.

(A visit to the steel cord plant in Qingdao, China, April, 2005)

In 2005, all members of the board visited the Qingdao plant in China. At that time, Hyosung held a board meeting abroad for the first time and had a tour of the plant. During the tour, Chairman Cho carefully examined the operation of the machines, the facilities and the dexterousness of local workers, as well as asking many questions.

Written by Park Tae-ho

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