Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-yeon's first son Kim Dong-kwan, left, second son Kim Dong-won, top right, and third son Kim Dong-seon. Courtesy of Hanwha Group

First son fares well; two others languish

Hanwha Group announced this week that Kim Dong-kwan had been promoted as the vice president of the conglomerate’s subsidiary, Hanwha Q Cells and Advanced Materials.

He is the eldest son of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn.

The Seoul-based group said that the younger Kim deserves the promotion as he spearheaded Hanwha Q Cells to become the top player in the world solar panel market over the past few years.

As Hanwha Q Cells is set to merge with its sister firm Hanwha Chemical next month, watchers expect that the promotion heralds the power transition from Chairman Kim to his eldest son.

The 36-year-old Harvard graduate joined the country’s seventh-largest chaebol in 2010 and worked mostly in the solar panel business.

The heir apparent of energy-focused Hanwha group has two younger brothers of Kim Dong-won, who works for Hanwha Life and Kim Dong-seon, who left the group two years ago.

Dong-won was not included in the promotion list this time around and it seems to have something to do with disappointing performances of Hanwha Life, one of the country’s biggest insurers.

We think that Chairman Kim made the decision regarding Donw-won. Chairman Kim appears to want to urge Dong-won to chalk up better performances,” a Hanwha official said.

Dong-seon’s situation is even more gloomy.

He got aboard Hanwha Engineering & Construction in 2014 but was forced to leave the builder in 2017 when he was mired in a scandal.

Back then, the three-time Asian Games gold medalist in equestrian allegedly assaulted lawyers at a dinner party to cause national uproars.

He is not engaged in Hanwha Group. As far as we know, he runs a small restaurant in Germany just as some media outlets report,” the official said.