One of the most prominent personalities of the tech industry, Koo Bon-moo, chairman of LG Group, has passed away at the age of 73 after battling brain disease since last year. According to the custom in South Korean corporations, his adopted son Koo Kwang-mo, 40, will take charge of the position. His nomination to the board of LG Corp is pending the approval of shareholders.
Koo Bon-moo was from the third generation of LG’s founding family. He will be remembered mostly for being instrumental in turning the company in one of the most influential tech giants today. In an email statement released by the LG Group, Koo died on Sunday at 9:52 Seoul time. He had opted out of life support after being ill for more than a year. During this period, Koo underwent multiple brain surgeries.
“Chairman Koo is the one who built the foundation of LG’s global businesses, which span batteries to OLED panels and telecom,” said Park Ju-gun, President of Corporate Research firm CEOScore.
Koo was appointed as the Chairman of LG in 1995. Then, LG was known as Lucky Goldstar, and the company was worth 30 trillion won. Once Koo took charge of the company, he focused on international expansion and significant investment in displays and lithium-ion batteries, which eventually became important as smartphones, flat-panel TV’s, and PC’s gained popularity. Today, LG has achieved record performance, thanks to the vision of Koo.
Under the leadership of Koo, in the last 23 years the total sales of LG Group increased by more than five times, equaling to 160 trillion won in 2017. Due to his effective leadership, LG became one of the top five phone brands, and the company’s LCD business is in tight competition with Samsung Electronics.
“There seems almost no risk in LG’s succession plan, as the group appointed a successor early, and the Koo family has the largest stake in the holding company,” said Park. “LG’s heir is likely to take the role of board chairman and let professional management executives lead the businesses.”
Koo is survived by his wife and two daughters.