Well, everyone’s favorite Korean daily, the Korea Times, has a headline implying that LG Group’s CEO got canned because of the iPhone. Technically, outgoing LG CEO Nam Yong didn’t get fired. He “voluntarily” tendered his resignation and it was “unanimously” accepted by the board. I’m not so sure the difference is all that significant.
In any case, although the outgoing LG CEO may not have resigned because of the popularity of the iPhone alone, he most certainly was asked to leave because LG’s mobile phone strategy was ill prepared to properly address the rise of highly profitable Android and iPhone smartphones. The results? A second quarter with almost a KRW120 billion (US$101 million) loss. Wow, that’s practically GM-ish.
Hopefully, new CEO Koo Bon-joon, the younger brother of Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo, will have better luck. Given the delay of LG’s higher-end Android phones in entering the marketplace, it will probably get worse before it gets better. Early indications is that the “new” LG Optimus smartphone only has a processor speed of 600MHz, which would already make it obsolete vs. phones like the HTC Desire HD, Motorola Droid X, the Samsung Galaxy-S and the iPhone 4 that have processors in the neighborhood of 1Ghz. The Financial Times (as usual) isn’t holding any punches by calling LG’s smart phone strategy “disastrous.”
UPDATE 1: Buggar. Looks like the KT, in their infinite wisdom, changed the headline to the more sedate “LG Electronics names Koo as CEO.” However, it hasn’t stopped VentureBeat for giving Steve Jobs the credit in getting Nam Yong canned.
UPDATE 2: Ouch! According to this article, which is drawing from a Yonhap source, looks like Nam isn’t the only one getting canned. Looks like three or five division heads will get sacked too.
Ahn Seung-kwon, 53, who led LG’s mobile phone business since 2007, is widely expected to be sacked, taking responsibility for the company’s slow reaction to growing smartphone demand.
Get a load of this:
Nam appointed five foreigners from other companies at the top posts in the company’s Seoul headquarter, an unusual move at a Korean company that raised the number of foreign executives to about half of its C-suite managers. They were the chief marketing officer, chief procurement officer, chief supply chain officer, chief human resources officer and chief strategy officer.
But LG faced internal criticism about appointing foreigners from another company at the top posts, and some members even criticized that chief officers failed to adjust to the Korean company’s culture, according to analysts.
Boldface emphasis mine.