2024.06.15 (토)

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English

Choi Min-jeong, SK Group Chairman Choi Tae-won's daughter, founds 'medical startup' in the US... Impact on SK Group's succession plan?

After a two-year hiatus from SK Hynix, Choi Min-jeong stands alone with 'Integral Health'
Potential collaboration with SK Group's bio subsidiaries
Eldest daughter Choi Yoon-jung, Vice President at SK Biopharmaceuticals, becomes 'youngest executive in the group'... Eldest son Choi In-geun, involved in energy business at SK E&S North America subsidiary

 

[NewsSpace=JeongYoung Kim]  Choi Min-jeong, the daughter of SK Group Chairman Choi Tae-won, recently founded a medical startup in the United States.

 

According to industry sources on the 28th, Choi Min-jeong has emerged as a co-founder of Integral Health, a newly established healthcare startup based on artificial intelligence (AI). Integral Health collaborates with healthcare institutions in the United States to provide programs for managing patients' mental and behavioral health. Several experts, including medical doctors from Yale University, have already joined the venture.

 

According to the company, one in five adults in the United States experiences psychological issues, but many do not seek healthcare due to financial constraints. Choi reportedly decided to launch the startup to address such social issues. Recently, she also collaborated with Catholic Medical Partners, a large medical institution in New York.

 

Choi Yoon-jung, the elder sister of Choi Min-jeong and the eldest daughter of Chairman Choi Tae-won, serves as the Vice President of Business Development at SK Biopharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of SK Group. With both sisters now working in related fields, there is potential for collaboration between Min-jeong's startup and SK Group's biotech subsidiaries in the future. The synergy between the two sisters' ventures is expected to be another focal point.

 

Min-jeong left her position at SK Hynix in February 2022 and has been shuttling between Korea and the United States. She received an offer to join the recruitment committee of the People Power Party at the end of last year but reportedly declined.

 

Born in 1991, Choi Min-jeong graduated from Beijing University with a degree in Business Administration. She made headlines in 2014 when she became the first daughter of a conglomerate to voluntarily enlist as a naval officer candidate after graduating. During her naval officer days, she served in the Maritime Patrol and West Sea Fleet.

 

After completing her service in November 2017, she joined Hony Capital, a top 10 investment company in China, before joining SK Hynix in August 2019. She worked in the International Trade and Policy Response Division (INTRA) at SK Hynix, shuttling between Washington, D.C., and Seoul. She was also involved in M&A and investment tasks at SK Hynix's U.S. subsidiary.

 

After her leave from SK Hynix, she served as an unpaid advisor at a remote medical startup called "Dun" in San Francisco and volunteered for free education services for underprivileged middle and high school students in the region through the NGO "SMART."

 

With the founding of Choi Min-jeong's startup, attention is now on the succession plan of SK Group and the future endeavors of other children of Chairman Choi.

 

Choi Yoon-jung, the eldest daughter of Chairman Choi, born in 1989, joined SK Biopharmaceuticals in 2017 and took a hiatus in 2019 to pursue a master's degree in Bioinformatics at Stanford University. She returned to work in July 2021 and was promoted to an executive position by the end of 2023. She became the youngest executive in the group after seven years of service. Under her leadership, the Strategic Investment Team at SK Biopharmaceuticals successfully completed the acquisition of SK Life Science Labs.

 

The eldest son, Choi In-geun, born in 1995, graduated from Brown University with a degree in Physics in 2014. After completing an internship at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), he joined SK E&S in 2020 and transferred to Paski, the North American energy solutions business, after two years. He has a strong interest in eco-friendly and renewable energy, which led him to venture into global energy solutions at Paski. Paski, established in November 2021, is wholly owned by SK E&S, with Choi Jae-won, Senior Vice Chairman of SK On, serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

 

In October last year, Chairman Choi Tae-won revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that he is devising a succession plan for the group but cannot disclose it yet.

 

Chairman Choi has been at the helm of SK Group for 26 years since taking over the management rights at the age of 39 following the passing of former SK Chairman Choi Jong-hyun in 1998. With Chairman Choi turning 63 this year, nearing the average age of leaders, and considering that major groups such as Samsung, Hyundai Motor, and LG have completed succession plans in recent years, the succession of SK Group has become a topic of interest in the business community.

 

Regarding the succession, Chairman Choi mentioned in the interview with Bloomberg, "I have given a lot of thought to the succession plan and need to prepare for it. If I were to have an unexpected accident, who would lead the entire group? A succession plan is necessary. I have my own plan, but it is not yet time to reveal it."

 

It is speculated that Chairman Choi has already laid out plans for the succession and has been in discussions with the board of directors. SK Group's board consists of four internal directors and five external directors.

 

Chairman Choi has three children: one son and two daughters. In the business community, it is expected that Chairman Choi will adopt a corporate split method to pass on the major businesses within the group to his children. Chairman Choi has focused on semiconductor, bio, electric vehicle battery, and other energy businesses as the future core growth drivers of the group and has expanded global investments.

 

However, it may not be easy for Chairman Choi to pass on his 17.5% stake in SK Corporation to his children. Considering the inheritance tax burden, it is analyzed that it would be difficult for Chairman Choi's children to inherit the shares while maintaining their stake. None of the three children currently have any SK shares.

 

Given the current inheritance tax rate of 50% and the additional tax for major shareholders of large corporations at 20%, it is not realistically easy for SK Group to continue its fourth-generation management. Therefore, the possibility of transitioning to a professional management system and a board of directors cannot be ruled out.

 

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