Kim Woo

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SEOUL, Dec. 10 (Korea Bizwire) — Former Daewoo Group Chairman Klặng Woo-choong, once touted as one of the most successful businessmen in South Korea, died late Monday at age 82, an organization affiliated with the now-defunct conglomerate said.

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Kim, the founder of the trading-to-autođiện thoại conglomerate, died of a chronic disease at a local hospital late Monday night, according to lớn Daewoosky Institute, which represents former employees of Daewoo Group.

He launched Daewoo Corp. in March 1967 khổng lồ export textiles khổng lồ Southeast Asian markets, and the trading company grew into lớn Daewoo Group, the country’s second-biggest conglomerate after Hyundẻo Group, through leveraged buyouts of numerous companies.

For the three decades after its foundation, Daewoo continued to lớn acquire dozens of companies in the fields of autoMobile, trading, machinery, shipbuilding, construction & securities under the chairman’s motkhổng lồ, “The World Is Still Wide & There Are Many Things to lớn Do.”

The group built its headquarters named Daewoo Building in central Seoul in 1977. The 23-story building was the tallest in Korea at that time.

Back then, conglomerates were widely accepted as entities “too big to fail” as they played a major role in supporting the economy & hired tens of thousands of employees.

Still, Daewoo’s relentless expansion inevitably led lớn an overly diversified business structure, which was supported by massive debts.

Daewoo Group ran inlớn serious financial problems during the 1997 Asian financial crisis và went bankrupt two years later.

Daewoo’s flagship company, Daewoo Motor, was sold khổng lồ General Motors Co. in 2002 & renamed GM Korea Co. Its other affiliates, such as Daewoo Engineering và Construction Co. và Daewoo Shipbuilding và Marine Engineering Co., were sold to domestic rivals.


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Daewoo Group Chairman Kim Woo-choong (R) accompanying British Queen Elizabeth II (C) during the queen’s visit to lớn Daewoo Motor’ Co.’s oto design forum in Seoul on April đôi mươi, 1999. (Yonhap)


Following Daewoo’s demise, Kim spent most of his time in Vietphái mạnh, where he focused on fostering Korean entrepreneurs under a project dubbed Global Young Business Manager (GYBM).

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As his health deteriorated, the former chairman returned to lớn South Korea last year & received medical treatment at Ajou University Hospital, which he founded. He died at that hospital.

As his will, Kim asked that the GYBM program be continually developed to lớn help the youth enter foreign markets and not only find employment but also launch their own businesses there, a Daewoo spokesperson said.

In 1998, Daewoo operated 41 domestic affiliates & 396 overseas branches and hired 300,000 employees globally. It accounted for 14 percent, or US$18.6 billion, out of the country’s overall exports worth $132.3 billion.

But Daewoo’s overly diversified business structure and financing of the business mainly through borrowing hit the group lượt thích a boomerang amid the financial crisis.

The group came up with a restructuring plan lớn reduce the number of affiliates lớn 10 from 41 in late 1998, but most of the companies were forced to enter a workout program due lớn liquidity problems in August 1999.

After the group declared insolvency in late 1999, Kyên was forced khổng lồ carry the burden of the consequences.

Once an inspiration khổng lồ the country’s youth, he was denigrated as a businessman whose buying binge crushed the households of thousands of Daewoo employees who were laid off.

In 2006, he was sentenced khổng lồ eight and a half years in prison for window-dressing corporate finance books and ordered khổng lồ forfeit 17.9 trillion won ($15 billion). He received a special presidential pardon the following year.