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Late Doosan Exec Suffered in Later Life

Posted November. 05, 2009 08:02,   


○ Doosan chairman for more than a decade

Former Doosan Group executive Park Yong-oh, who committed suicide yesterday, was the son of the conglomerate’s first chairman Park Doo-byung and a grandson of group founder Park Seung-jik.

Leading the group from 1996 through 2005, Park Yong-oh was estranged from his family in 2005 because he refused to hand over the chairmanship to the heir apparent and younger brother, Yong-sung.

When his younger brother, Park Yong-sung, was appointed to lead the group four years ago, Park Yong-oh disclosed the group’s irregularities including his younger brother’s amassing of slush funds.

After graduating from Korea’s Kyunggi High School and New York University, Park Yong-oh became managing director of both Doosan Industry and Oriental Brewery. He later went on to head Doosan Industry and the pro baseball team OB Bears and served as vice chairman of the Doosan Group.

He was appointed group chairman in 1996 and doubled as CEO of Doosan Corp.

Park Yong-oh was also president of the Korean Baseball Organization, vice chairman of the Federation of Korean Industries and the Korean Employers Federation, and chairman of the APEC CEO summit, the Korea-Egypt Economic Cooperation Committee, and the Korea-Spain Economic Cooperation Committee.

○ Series of misfortunes

Despite his brilliant career, Park Yong-oh suffered a series of misfortunes from 2005. Based on his tip, prosecutors launched a corruption probe into the group. He was later indicted in 2007 on charges of amassing slush funds and given a three-year prison sentence suspended for five years and fined eight billion won (8.6 million U.S. dollars).

After splitting from the Doosan Group, he retired from business but returned in February last year by buying 24 percent of Sungjee Construction, one of the country’s biggest builders.

The company suffered difficulty due to the slowdown in the property market and cash crunch.

Sungjee’s stock plummeted from 35,450 won (36 dollars) at the time Park bought his shares to 2,000 won (1.42 dollars) in October last year. The stock has since risen to 4,350 won (3.68 dollars).

The company posted a net loss of 4.37 billion won (3.7 million dollars) in the first half of this year on sales of 108.6 billion won (92 million dollars), down four percent, and operating profit of 1.87 billion won (1.58 million dollars), down 63 percent from the same period last year.

Sungjee reportedly suffered big losses due to sluggish sales of factories in Gyeonggi Province and studio apartments in the Yeouido district of western Seoul.

Last year, Park Yong-oh’s second son, Joon-won, was indicted for stock fraud and embezzlement and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

swon@donga.com hyejin@donga.com