Who is the best exposed Korean business chairman among the world leaders?

기사승인 2019.02.19  17:40:56


- Chairman Chey Tae-won of the SK Group appears to be one

This is the fifth installment in a series of articles on the major business groups of Korea by Business Editor Kim Tae-moon with the business/economics reporters of The Korea Post media. The article will also be published by the four other media outlets of The Korea Post, including

By Business Editor Kim Tae-moon, Reporters Kim Jung-mi, Son Da-som, Shin Jin-seon

Who are the Korean business leaders best exposed to the leaders of the world? It appears that one of them definitely is Chairman Chey Tae-won of the SK Business Group.

Chairman Chey Tae-won of the SK Business Group (right) shakes hands with President Donald Trump of the United States (second from left) while President Moon Jae-in (left) and First Lady Madam Kim Jung-sook (right) look on. Chairman Chey of the SK Business Group is consided one of the best-exposed Korean business chairmen to the world leaders.

Relatively young among the top business tycoons in Korea, just a little over 58 (born on Dec. 3, 1960), Chey has met with many world leaders who include incumbent President Donald Trump of the United States, President Xi Jinping of China and former U.S. President George W. Bush. Other world leaders Chey has met include President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Viet Nam.

Originally, the SK Group had a different name, Sunkyung Business Group, which was founded by his father’s elder brother, the late first-term Chairman Chey Jong-gun. The second-term leader is the late Chairman Chey Jong-hyun who is the father of incumbent Chairman Chey Tae-won.

The original name of SK was the Sunkyung Business Group which sounded “Sunk Young” among the non-Korean ears.

Chairman Chey Tae-won (left) speaks with President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Park Yong-man of Korea Chamber of Commerce & Industry (right and center, respectively)

Who would ever want to be “sunk young?”

So this is why the SK Business Group, Korea’s second largest business group in 2017 and the third this year, has changed its name from the original Sunkyung to today’s SK, where ‘S’ represents Sun and ‘K’ Kyung.

And who started the SK Business Group in the first place? As was briefly introduced afore, the founder of the SK Business Group was the late first-term Chairman Chey Jong-gun, the elder brother of the late 2nd-term Chairman Chey Jong-hyun who is the father of the incumbent chairman, Chey Tae-won.

President Moon Jae-in (center, foreground) pleasantly listens to explanations given him by Chairman Chey Tae-won of the SK Group on the sidelines of his participation in the opening of SK Hynix's M15-dubbed NAND flash-type memory chip fabrication facility in Cheongju, Chungcheongbuk-do Province.

According to Namuwiki 2018, the SK Business Group ranked the third place in the Jaebeol hierarchy in Korea with 189.5 trillion won in total assets preceded only by Samsung with 399.5 trillion won and Hyundai Motors placing the second with 222.7 trillion won. (For further details of this Special Reort, please call the Editor at 010-5201-1740 or write to

Kim Tae-moon

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