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article imageMetal engineering expert takes helm of POSCO

By AFP     Mar 14, 2014 in Business

An engineering expert on Friday took the helm of South Korea' steel giant POSCO promising an overhaul of the company as it suffers falling profits owing global economic uncertainty and competition from Chinese rivals.

Shareholders and board of directors at the world's number five steelmaker approved Kwon Oh-Joon, a 64-year-old metal engineer, as its eighth CEO on Friday, putting him in charge through to March 2017.

"POSCO faces the danger of its competitive edges being wiped out as the global steel market faces a severe surplus glut," Kwon said after his anointment at an annual shareholders' meeting.

Kwon, with a Pittsburgh University metal engineering doctorate, joined the firm in 1986 and has served as president handling technology-related businesses.

He said he would fold up loss-making, unrelated subsidiaries, focus on the company's core steel business and invest in developing materials used for future high-tech and clean energy industries.

POSCO said in January that net profit for last year plunged 43.2 percent to 1.35 trillion ($1.25 billion) won as a slowdown in China, the world's top steel consumer, and economic woes in Europe sap demand and cause a global glut.

Chinese steelmakers have also churned out an increasing amount of cheap steel products, pushing prices lower, while a weakening yen has blunted South Korean firms' price competitiveness in Japan, the firm has warned.

POSCO earns about 40 percent of its sales from overseas.

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