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Being an Executive Does Not Guarantee One’s Future

Posted December. 10, 2005 07:51,   


Large, major conglomerates, including Samsung and LG, have already finished interviews of managers who could be promoted to executives.

It is hard to become an executive, but the post of executives offers benefits. A Samsung executive said, “After I became an executive, there have been about 10 things that changed, from salary to office environment.” For sure, the amount of responsibility also grows.

Doubling Salary-

There is a slight difference depending on corporations, but salary rockets 1.5 times to twice that of general manager if one is promoted to an executive position.

In the case of large conglomerates, including Samsung, LG, SK and Hyundai-Kia Motors, if the annual salary of general managers stands at 70 to 80 million won, the initial annual salary of newly appointed executive reaches 130 to 150 million won. Of course, some underperforming affiliates offer less than that, and there are many medium-sized companies that pay their executives less than 100 million won in annual salary.

The amount of annual salary for general managers is decided according to a salary class. But executives receive severance payment and have a separate system of salary according to company rules. The also receive benefits such as various incentives and stock options.

Most companies give the right to receive stock options to their executives. However, that is confined to those with good performance. Samsung, which offered a large amount of stock options, changed the benefit to the mid- to long-term incentives paid every three years from this January. Executives of large, major companies say, “At least we are not bound by money.”

Benefits are Great-

Benefits as well as salary are incomparable to those of general managers.

Once becoming an executive, one receives an independent work space, such as a separate office. LG Electronics offers a 6.4-pyeong private office, while Samsung secures an independent space by placing partitions.

In a large, major corporation, executives have a female secretary who manages schedules and answers phone calls and a 2,000 to 2,500cc-level car. Managing directors and directors receive management costs for their cars, if not their own drivers, and therefore, they do not pay for gasoline.

Companies also pay congratulatory or condolence money for executives. Immediately after becoming an executive, one receives membership to a golf course. They can also fly business class and stay in top-class hotels while taking an overseas business trip. Companies also pay for credit card expenses by executives.

Samsung executives are given millions of won a month in social expenses and expenses for their wives’ physical checkups once a year. By installing a computer for work in their homes, they can work at home during holidays.

Enormous Stress as a “Temporary Worker”-

As executives have a great possibility to be included in the “CEO pool,” they are engaged in “limitless competition,” in which titles or ranks are not important. That generates great stress for executives.

Unlike general managers or employees of lower ranks, they could be “fired” anytime if they post low performance. Indeed, some people are let go only a year after having the pleasure of being promoted to an executive.

Lee Man-woo, managing director of SK Corp., said, “As executives must do everything under his or her own responsibility, they suffer work-related pressure incomparable to what they experienced as general managers.”