Reports: Kumho “struggling” to find CEO

Kumho Tire has been struggling appoint new company leadership after its previous chairman left following Doublestar’s purchase of the company.

According to Kumho Tire, the company will not appoint a new chairman at its pre-scheduled March shareholders meeting. Vice president Jeon Dae-jin will continue as the acting CEO in the interim.

Local news reports cite Kumho insiders as saying that Doublestar is working on finding a suitable candidate, but is “struggling” to find someone with the right combination of skill. According to the reports, in December Doublestar offered the role to former Korea Development Bank (KDB) senior vice president Lee Dae-hyun, but he declined following opposition from Kumho Tire’s union.

The difficulty hinges on the fact that creditors (led by KDB), the union and company representatives all need to be satisfied with the appointment. The decision is further complicated because most of the best qualified Koreans have previous or currently work for tyre industry rivals Hankook and Nexen. That said, The Korea Times linked former Nexen Tire vice chairman Lee Hyun-bong with Kumho top job, but Kumho denied these reports.

Doublestar remains the largest shareholder in Kumho Tire with a 45 per cent stake and KDB is now the third-largest with 7.43 per cent. It is also the main creditor bank. cja

According to The Korea Times, Kumho logged 38 billion won (US$33.9 million) of operating losses in the third quarter of last year, with no clear signs of improvement.

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