The chief of GS Group, a South Korean refiner-to-construction conglomerate, recently called on its executives and employees to be "agile" in riding out the uncertainties ahead.
GS Group Chairman Huh Chang-soo made the comment in a strategy meeting with 50 executives from the group's major affiliates, such as GS Caltex Corp. and GS Engineering & Construction Co.
"GS has to encourage employees to present creative and voluntary ideas based on a stable and effective working process. And a fast decision-making process should also be established, while putting a priority on what's going on in business fields," said the chairman at the meeting in Chuncheon, 85 kilometers northeast of Seoul.
Not only high-tech companies such as Google and Amazon,but also traditional manufacturers such as General Electric and Siemens, are restructuring themselves to meet rapidly-changing business trends, he said.
GS Group looked for younger CEOs and people outside the group with commendable achievements for its recent personnel moves on Nov. 28. Only one person from the owners family was included in the move, Hur Cheol-hong, who was promoted to director in charge of the Management Reform Sector of GS Caltex. He is the eldest son of Hur Jeong-soo, chairman of LS Neotech.
Chairman Huh Chang-soo said it is critical for the group to set up an organizational structure that can withstand any tough conditions ahead and cope with them rapidly and wisely.
“We need to have a stable and effective structure to cope with any tough conditions, especially those that were unexpected and make up for mistakes,” he said.
The biggest promotions were seen in the elevation of Chung Chan-soo to president of GS Group in charge of management support and Kim Hyung-kuk to president in charge of the petroleum business at GS Caltex.
Um Tae-jin will lead GS Sports, which manages FC Seoul, a professional football club. Chung joined the company through GS Caltex in 1987 and has been on the group’s management support team since 2013.
Kim also entered GS through Caltex in 1987 and was promoted to the executive level in 2008.
Um joined the company in 1983 and has served as chief financial officer of GS Caltex since 2011.
GS Group also moved about 20 employees into executive roles.
Most of them are in their 40s, a move that GS Group said is intended to create an “agile and flexible company structure.”
GS Group laid out plans to reinforce the competitiveness of its major businesses, discover unique growth engines and expand overseas projects. “Since its launch, GS has consistently pushed toward overcoming the limits of the domestic market to expand its business territory and adopt global strategies to create more jobs,” Chairman Huh Chang-soo said recently.
The group has been solidifying its foothold as a representative exporter, well-illustrated by GS Caltex, which earns two-thirds of its revenue overseas. This was possible through consistent investment in oil, petrochemicals and lubricants.
Korea’s second-largest oil refiner was established in 1967 by Caltex of Chevrolet and GS. Last year, GS Caltex became Korea’s first oil refiner to import oil from the US after it lifted its ban on oil exports in 2015.
Throughout last year, the company imported a total of 2.4 million barrels of US oil, starting with 400,000 barrels in March 2016 and 2 million more barrels between November and December 2016. GS Caltex plans to add another 2.4 million barrels of US oil later this year, according to the company.