LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo

1. Wealth: $1.6 billion (Forbes, 2019)

2. Date of birth: January 23, 1978

Koo Kwang-mo is the chairman of LG Group, South Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate. He is an adopted son of former LG Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

3. Company & title: LG Group/Chairman

Koo Kwang-mo was born as a nephew of former Chairman Koo Bon-moo. After the latter’s own son died, however, the former was adopted by the latter.

The foster son joined LG Group in 2006 and took charge of the conglomerate in 2018 after former Chairman Koo passed away.

LG Group is one of major conglomerates of South Korea. Included in its main subsidiaries are LG Electronics, a global giant in home appliances, and LG Chem, the country’s foremost chemical company.

4. Educational backgrounds: Stanford University, MBA, Rochester Institute of Technology

Koo studied in Korea and the United States.

5. Marital status: Married (wife: Chung Hyo-jeong)

Koo tied the knot with Chung Hyo-jeong, a daughter of Bolak Chairman Chung Kie-ryun, in 2009. Unlike most other LG family members, who typically got married to partners arranged by their parents, Koo opted for love marriage. In some articles, she was named as Jeong Hyo-jeong.

As Bolak was a small-sized food company, there was some opposition. But Koo forged ahead with the marriage. He and Chung have two children.

6. Relatives:

LG Group founder Koo In-hwoi: Great-grandfather

Former LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo: Foster Father

LG Group Vice Chairman Koo Bon-joon: Uncle

7. Criminal records: Clean

Almost all tycoons of top Korean conglomerates have criminal records and included in a handful of exceptions are former Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

His adopted son of Chairman Koo Kwang-mo’s record is also clean. If he follows the footsteps of his predecessors, he will be able to be free from prosecutions, unlike many other businessmen here.

As far as obedience to the law, LG is respected as an excellent corporate citizen.

8. Controversies:

LG has a family tradition of transferring managerial rights only to the eldest son, which is not the case for other conglomerates like Samsung. For example, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee is the third son of founder Lee Byung-chul.

Former Chairman Koo Bon-moo initially had a son, who died in 1994 at the age of 19. Then, he tried to have another son, but his wife gave birth to a daughter in 1996 when he was 51 years old.

The lack of a biological son prompted him to adopt one in 2004, and that is current Chairman Koo.

And the process was not easy as it was time-consuming and comprehensive. LG checked every detail of all the candidates, and even a fortuneteller was involved in predicting whose future would be the brightest, according to a Korea News Plus report.

All these are happening not in a kingdom in the Middle Ages but in modern Korea. The feudal governance system leads to some criticisms.

9. Related articles:

Hidden story of new LG chief

LG taps AI lab chief


The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.