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“Ultraconservative” LG Group appoints first female family member

A third-gen of South Korean conglomerate LG Group appears to have cracked the glass ceiling at her family’s business, becoming the first female family member appointed to top management.

Koo Ji-eun, who is also a next gen of the Samsung empire through her mother’s side, was appointed vice president of LG Group's catering subsidiary Ourhome this month, 11 years after she joined the company.

Koo is the daughter of Ourhome chairman Koo Cha-hak, and her uncles are LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo and vice-chairman Koo Bon-joon.

As such, she is in the rare position of having descended from two of South Korea’s largest ‘chaebol’ – family-controlled conglomerates that have dominated the country’s economy since the post-War period.

According to The Korea Herald, LG Group takes an “ultraconservative” attitude to gender roles, and succession usually favours male heirs, especially the eldest son.

In contrast, several female next gens are involved at the senior management level at Samsung, such as Lee Seo-hyun, president of Cheil Industries, a subsidiary of the conglomerate.

LG Group, founded by Koo In-hwoi in 1947, was the first Korean company to start in the plastics industry, and today works in electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications. It is the fourth largest chaebol in South Korea.

When Koo joined Ourhome in 2004, the company had revenues of 500 billion won (€396 million), but has grown significantly since then, with figures in 2014 sitting at 1.3 trillion won.

Koo is credited with leading many successful projects during her time at Ourhome, including expanding the company’s online presence, opening a new logistics centre, and expanding the company’s business portfolio to include restaurants.

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