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Drugmakers speed up ownership successions
  • By So Jae-hyeon
  • Published 2018.01.11 12:01
  • Updated 2018.04.24 11:12
  • comments 0

Since the beginning of the New Year, pharmaceutical companies are accelerating the succession of ownership, placing the second and third generations of their founders on key management positions.

Hanmi Pharmaceutical, Hyundai Pharmaceutical, Samjin Pharmaceutical, Jeil Pharma Holdings, and GC (formerly Green Cross) Pharma have begun to pass down the ownership to the young generations.

Hanmi recently promoted Chairman Lim Sung-ki’s two children to vice presidents – the eldest daughter and senior executive director Lim Ju-hyun, 44, and the second son and senior executive director Lim Jong-hoon, 41. Ju-hyun is to oversee the global business, and Jong-hoon, management and planning. Earlier, Hanmi named chairman Lim’s eldest son Lim Chong-yoon, 46, as CEO of Hanmi Science, the holding company.

Hyundai Pharmaceutical has recently promoted Lee Sang-jun, 42, a third generation of the company’s founder, to the president for R&D and new business. Observers pay attention to how Lee will raise his stake, relatively low at 4.92 percent, to make key decisions. No stakeholder owns more than 5 percent, except for the incumbent Chairman Lee Han-koo.

Samjin Pharmaceutical promoted Chairman Choi Seung-hu’s daughter Choi Ji-hyun, 44, from director to executive director, signaling new management of the second generations of the co-founders. Ji-hyun will focus on marketing and PR, and Co-founder Cho Ui-hwan’s eldest son Kyu-seok, 47, accounting. Co-founder Cho’s second son and director Kyu-hyung, 43, will be in charge of planning. With the second generations of the co-founders placed on key management positions, industry watchers pay much attention to how the dynamics of Samjin’s management executives will unfold. Currently, co-founder Cho has more voting shares than co-founder Choi.

Han Sang-chul, 42, CEO of Jeil Pharma Holdings (formerly Jeil Pharmaceuticals) and the son of Jeil Pharm Chairman Han Seung-soo, has been on the test of his managerial ability since being named as president last year. Earlier, Jeil Pharm split the prescription drug business from over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Jeil Pharm President Sung Suk-je, who has built a solid partnership with Pfizer, was to oversee the prescription drug business, and third-generation Han Sang-chul, OTC drugs. Han Sang-chul has a 4.66 percent stake in the company.

At GC, Huh Eun-chul, 46, the third generation of the company’s founder, started to manage the company in 2016. GC’s largest stakeholder is Green Cross Holdings, where Huh has a 0.23 percent stake. Huh’s stake in Green Cross Holdings stands at 2.55 percent.

All of the second and third generations of the owners in the pharmaceutical industry are in their 40s, born in 1970s. Industry officials said they would target and quickly settle in the global pharmaceutical industry, as they have abundant overseas experience.

“The only way second and third generations can take over the control and beat the firmly standing CEO is to achieve strong performance in sales. To do so, they have to lead the global market,” a pharmaceutical industry official said. “They will try to raise their stakes and find their place for some time.”


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