Korean Economy News
Korea’s tuna tycoon resigns to enable generation shift in Dongwon Group

Shim Hee-jin and Kim Hyo-jin

Dongwon Group founder and chairman Kim Jae-chul is stepping down from the helm of the canned tuna giant he has held for over half a century to make way for a generational shift in the family business.

The 84-year-old chairman made the announcement at the company’s 50th-year anniversary ceremony Tuesday, saying it was time to make room for the younger generation. He is expected to play an advisory role to his 46-year-old son Kim Nam-jung, who will be promoted from his current post as vice president.

The holding entity Dongwon Enterprise will continue to define the overall strategy for the group with the chief executive of each affiliate to maintain independent management, a company official said.

Kim is said to consider taking on volunteer work and other activities to give back to society, according to close associates.

Kim started Dongwon Industries in 1969 in a little office in Seoul with two employees and one fishing boat. In 1982, Dongwon introduced Korea’s first canned tuna brand and has since grown to become the country’s largest fishing company. Dongwon Tuna has sold more than 6.2 billion cans since its release.

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