SEOUL -- In a bid to change its corporate culture, South Korea's leading Hyundai auto group is conducting a group-wide survey to collect the opinions of employees, especially when Chung Mong-koo is accelerating the transfer of leadership to his only son.
Hyundai officials said a two-week e-mail survey of 96,000 employees at 30 group units began on May 5. It is not to simply collect the opinions of employees but to seek a sweeping change in the group's deep-rooted corporate culture.
"The group has a deep-rooted culture of command and discipline for quick decision making. However, a drastic change in the industrial structure is causing a great sense of crisis that such a corporate culture hinders innovation," a Hyundai official said on condition of anonymity.
The official said that the survey sparked "high expectations on substantial changes" among Hyundai employees as Chung Eui-sun, the 49-year-old son and heir apparent of Chung Mong-koo, 80, spearheaded a campaign to promote "open innovation" and eliminate a conservative group culture.
Eui-sun grabbed media attention in June last year when he wore cotton t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers for his public appearance at the launch of Hyundai's subcompact sport utility vehicle, Kona.
This year, the group has sought to streamline its complicated governance structure and enhance transparency in its management. Last week, Eui-sun was made executive vice chairman to expand his control over the entire group.
Hyundai and some other conglomerates are undergoing a generational change. Of the third and fourth-generation members of conglomerate owners, Eui-sun has been cited by market watchers as a promising next leader who can properly manage the auto group after his father retired.
Eui-sun received a bachelor's degree in business management administration from Korea University in 1993 and a master of business administration from the University of San Francisco School of Business in 1997. He has gradually raised his stake in group affiliates for a smooth succession, growing in experience and wisdom while serving as president of Hyundai Motor's sister firm, Kia Motors, from 2005 to 2008.
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