SK to hold CEO meeting in Paris

SK Group will hold its annual CEO meeting – one of the biggest gatherings of its top executives – in Paris this week to discuss its management strategies amid the backdrop of rising global uncertainties, according to industry sources on Monday.

About 30 CEOs, together with Chairman Chey Tae-won, Executive Vice Chairman Chey Jae-won and SK Discovery Vice Chairman Chey Chang-won, will participate in this year’s three-day seminar starting later Monday.

It marks the first time in 14 years for the group’s annual seminar to take place overseas since its gathering in Beijing in 2009.

Sources said SK executives will likely discuss ways to respond effectively to vulnerabilities, including the ongoing US-China chip war and global oil price spikes due to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

SK Group has expanded its key business from oil refining and telecommunications to semiconductors and batteries, enhancing its global capabilities as one of the top exporting conglomerates. Over the past years, managing geopolitical risk factors has been of the utmost importance to the group.

Geopolitical risks have consistently brought uncertainties to SK’s main areas of business, which led the group to start its discussions by setting the issues as its main agenda to come up with measures since the first year of its annual Icheon Forum in 2017.

Recently, its major businesses were affected by various external variables, including the Russia-Ukraine war, Washington's enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act and US export controls on chips.

Calling for the group executives to prepare strategies for each scenario at last year's CEO seminar, the SK chief said, "We need to keep in mind the possibility that risk factors in the macro environment, such as geopolitical tensions, will increase in the future."

At this year's expanded management meeting in June, he once again stressed the importance of strengthening scenario planning to respond to various risk variables and opportunity factors.

At the Paris meeting, Chey and other executives are also expected to review the existing global business system in a way to increases the viability of each country and business despite a greater external environment.

Additionally, they will realize "Deep Change," Chey’s initiative that emphasizes fundamental changes for survival and growth that were discussed as a topic of last year's seminar. Executives will also likely materialize work style innovation plans to increase employees' happiness, sources said.

SK executives are expected to mobilize all affiliates' support for the 2030 Busan Expo bid in Paris, where the headquarters of the Bureau International des Expositions and ambassadors are stationed in the city to vote for the host city at the BIE general assembly next month.

Last week, the SK chairman attended the Busan Expo Symposium in Paris and met with high-ranking government officials from Estonia and the Caribbean Community in Seoul, requesting their support in hosting the Busan World Expo.

Chey is scheduled to visit Africa at the end of this month. He is planning to stay in Paris for the most of time next month and meet ambassadors from BIE member countries once again to appeal for their support for Busan's Expo bid.

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