MEED List: South Korea and the Middle East

19 June 2009

The six leading South Korean figures involved in the Middle East project market are: Kwang-Chul Choi, Jung-Mo Jang, Young-Ha Lee, Sang-Ryong Woo, Yeon-Joo Jung and Kangsoo Choo.

Kwang-Chul Choi

Position: President, SK Engineering & Construction

Biography: Kwang-Chul Choi has been president of SK Engineering & Construction since January 2008. Prior to taking the job, he spent 25 years with US contracting giant Bechtel, where he held a variety of IT roles, including chief information officer. His first position was chief executive officer (CEO) of the US’ Dillingham Construction, from 1978 to 1980. After Bechtel, he returned to Seoul and worked for a year as a professor in the business economics programme at Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (Kaist). Since he took the reins at SK, the company has won the $800m engineering, procurement and construction deal to install compression units at the Bab oil field in Abu Dhabi.

Contact Tel: (+822) 3700 7114

Jung-Mo Jang

Position: Associate director, Hyundai Engineering & Construction

Biography: Jung-Mo Jang has spent his entire career at Hyundai Engineering & Construction since graduating from Korea’s Chungnam National University with a degree in economics in 1986. He became deputy general manager of the overseas investment division in 1996, taking on several general manager roles for the company across Asia in countries including Thailand, Hong Kong and Indonesia. He has been associate director for the international business division of Hyundai Engineering & Construction since February 2008, and has been forced to deal with the unexpected cancellation in March of the company’s $1.1bn contract for the Al-Zour refinery in Kuwait.

Contact Tel: (+822) 2746 1114

Young-Ha Lee

Position: Vice-president, Korea Electric Power Corporation (Kepco)

Biography: As vice-president for overseas project development, Young-Ha Lee is a central figure behind Kepco’s strategy to spread further into Middle East utility markets and to be involved in the region’s emerging nuclear power programmes. Lee, who joined the state-run Kepco in 1981, took up his current role in January 2009, having previously held the director-general post for the Euro-America business department from 2007. Prior to that, he was appointed director for Kepco’s management innovation office in 2005, and director of the firm’s office in Mungyeong, west of Seoul, in 2004. He is currently involved in Kepco’s bid to win lucrative nuclear deals, specifically in the UAE and Jordan.

Contact Tel: (+822) 3456 3114

Sang-Ryong Woo

Position: President and CEO, GS Engineering & Construction

Biography: Sang-Ryong Woo was promoted to the top role at GS Engineering & Construction in 2007, after previously working as the CEO and senior executive vice-president since 2005. He has spearheaded the company’s push into Middle East markets with GS, working on some of the region’s largest projects, including Saudi Arabia’s Karan gas development and the UAE green diesel project at Ruwais. Prior to joining GS, Woo was CEO and executive vice-president of LG Engineering & Construction from 2003 to 2004. Woo also worked in the region in 1983 for two years as planning manager for Shinhwa Engineering & Construction in Shiraz, Iran.

Contact Tel: (+822) 728 3606

Yeon-Joo Jung

Position: President and CEO, Samsung Engineering

Biography: Yeon-Joo Jung has held the role of CEO at Samsung Engineering since January 2003. Following his appointment to the role, Samsung has targeted the Middle East project market, winning a string of awards in Saudi Arabia and, more recently, its first ever contract in Algeria. He has spent his entire career within Samsung group companies. He began his career in 1976 as an accountant at Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance Company, before moving to Samsung Corporation in 1982. In 1994, he became director of the finance and accounting division at Samsung Corporation, before taking on the role of chief financial officer in 1998 at plasma television manufacturer Samsung SDI.

Contact Tel: (+822) 3458 3000

Kangsoo Choo

Position: CEO, Korea Gas Corporation (Kogas)

Biography: Kangsoo Choo was appointed as the CEO of the state-run Kogas, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) importer, in September 2008. Kogas was recently named as the sole Korean company to prequalify for Iraq’s first oil bid round, and Choo has been juggling the prospect of investment while also managing stakes in LNG projects in Qatar, Oman and Yemen. Choo started his career at Hyundai Heavy Industries in 1978, moving to become a director of Hyundai Corporation in 1980. He also held a range of management positions at Hyundai Resources Development. From 1999 to 2006, he was Korean partner for Canadian consultant McKnight & Associates, and in 2007 he became an adviser for minerals and mining firm Korea Resources Corporation.

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