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New president of Korea National Red Cross and sister Grace

New president of Korea National Red Cross and sister Grace

Posted September. 26, 2014 04:17,   


Sungjoo Group Chairwoman Kim Sung-joo calls President Park Geun-hye "Sister Grace." The nickname comes from an English word for “hye,” the last letter of the president’s name. It shows how close they are. During the 2012 Presidential election, Chairman Kim drew public’s attention with unconstrained words and acts like a bodyguard for then-candidate Park while Kim served as the head of the Saenuri Party’s election committee. It was a surprise that Kim was not on the list of Cabinet members, as many believed Kim would be nominated as a minister in President Park’s administration.

Kim is the youngest among three sons and three daughters of the late Daesung Industrial Group Chairman Kim Soo-geun. Kim’s brothers are Daesung Industrial Chairman Kim Young-dae, Seoul City Gas Co., Ltd. Chairman Kim Young-man and Daegu City Gas Co., Ltd. Chairman Kim Young-hoon. The chairwoman who went to Amherst College and Harvard graduate school in the Ivy League says, “My parents financially supported for education, but I started my business by myself without their support.” It means that her success is different from those of other children of big business owners, who are born with silver spoons in their mouths.

Kim, the owner of women’s purse maker, actively participates in various activities outside the company. Sometimes it spawns a question over how she saves time to manage the company. Kim has been frequently named as "influential business woman" selected by foreign media including Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Fortune. It was a surprising decision for the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae to appoint Kim as the president of Korea National Red Cross (KNRC). Setting aside controversies over President Park’s "nomination in return for past favors," it still remains a question whether Kim is a person with adequate qualifications and experiences befitting the position. Previously, influential figures such as Kim Sang-hyup, Kang Young-hoon and Chung Won-shik, who served as prime minister, were appointed as KNRC president. It is probably related to the fact that KNRC president assumes heavy roles for improvement of inter-Korean relations besides ordinary Red Cross rescue activities.

A government may nominate people who made great contribution in the election for influential positions. However, there are certain positions that should not be given away in return for favor. The position of KNRC president seems cloth not fitting Chairman Kim. If the administration had tried to name a businessman armed with business mindset as a new KNRC president, it must have been a prominent leader in the industry so that the public would understand the reason. Lingering criticism over nomination since launch of the new government may not have reached ears of President Park.