HMM making change at helm

Current CEO Jae Hoon Bae was not mentioned in the announcement that Kyung-bae Kim will succeed him.

HMM announced Monday that it had tapped Kyung-bae Kim, former chief of Hyundai Glovis, as its next CEO.

The South Korean ocean carrier’s board is expected to approve Kim’s nomination at the shareholders meeting on March 29. 

Kyung-bae Kim

HMM hailed Kim as “a logistics expert who had led the steady growth of Hyundai Glovis while serving as chief executive of the company for about nine years. As a veteran with broad experiences and capabilities at the executive level, he is expected to play a significant role in laying a foundation for the sustainable growth of HMM and expanding its presence in the global market.”

Kim joined Hyundai Motor America as chief financial officer in 2000. He was named head of global strategy for Hyundai Motor Group in 2008 and CEO of Hyundai Glovis in 2009. Kim was appointed CEO of Hyundai Wia in 2018. 

Both Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Glovis reportedly have denied interest in acquiring HMM, and Monday’s announcement does not mention any negotiations among the companies. Neither does it mention HMM’s current CEO, Jae Hoon Bae. Still, that is not out of the ordinary considering the announcement of Bae’s hiring in March 2019 did not mention his predecessor, C.K. Yoo.

At the time, Bae also was called “an expert in logistics.” He was CEO of Pantos Logistics from 2010 to 2016. 

In his New Year’s message, Bae called 2021 a “truly meaningful year” for HMM. 

“We have recorded the greatest performance since the company has been established and laid the foundation for future growth,” he said in the Jan. 1 message, adding that the foundation included ordering container ships with the capacity to carry 13,000, 16,000 and 24,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, “reinforcing our previous competence with even greater capacity.”

He continued, “Despite the uncertainties caused by the global pandemic, we were able to fulfill our responsibilities and establish our position as one of the top-class global shipping companies. Moreover, by responding aptly to various crises such as the Suez Canal accident, we demonstrated our outstanding risk management abilities.” 

He expected 2022 to be a year of “endless opportunities and threats.” 

“Major global competitors and shippers are endeavoring to dominate the full supply chain. Through vertical integration, direct management of supply networks and development in other related industries, we also are actively leading the paradigm change. 

“But HMM needs further preparation. We need to focus on strengthening our service competitiveness through reinforcing logistics and IT capabilities. We also need to concentrate on specifying our medium- to long-term road map based on the development of new business opportunities. Constant efforts will be required to survive the paradigm change and to create a stable revenue stream,” he said. 

In February, HMM reported record full-year net profit of 5.32 billion won ($4.4 billion).

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