SK Group chairman's younger brother moved to lead conglomerate's energy units

Seoul, June 10 The younger brother of SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won was formally moved on Monday to lead the conglomerate's energy units, in an apparent move by Chey to tighten the family's grip and restructure the group's business portfolio.

Executive Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won, who had led SK On Co., the battery affiliate of SK Innovation Co., has been appointed as the new head of SK Innovation, one of SK's key affiliates, reports Yonhap News Agency.

SK Innovation has nine affiliates, including SK On, SK Energy Co. and SK Geo Centric Co.

Some industry observers attributed his abrupt appointment to taking responsibility for SK On's prolonged sluggish performance, driven by the stalled Electric Vehicle market.

SK On reported an operating loss of 581.8 billion won ($422.7 million) last year and remained in the red in the first quarter of 2024 with a loss of 331.5 billion won.

However, others believe Chey's new role reflects his success in founding the group's battery business with SK On, which was spun off from SK Innovation in 2021.

His appointment also aligns with Chairman Chey Tae-won's strategy to consolidate family-based control within the group through the SK Supex Council, the group's highest decision-making body, chaired by their cousin, Chang-won.

Additionally, insiders noted that Chairman Chey Tae-won's ongoing divorce case, which could affect his control over the group, is a contributing factor to the leadership change.

As the new chief of SK Innovation, Chey Jae-won is expected to play a key role in rebalancing the group's business portfolio, particularly in reviving the struggling SK On.

SK On has plans to invest a combined 7.5 trillion won this year in a bid to enhance competitiveness for its battery business.

"Now that Chey is in charge of SK Innovation as a whole, it seems easier for him to map out a solution for SK On," a source said.

Source: IANS
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