Spotlight on SK chairman
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won is poised to take center stage as Korea Inc.’s main representative at the Seoul G20 Business Summit this week.
Chey, who leads Korea’s third largest conglomerate, is the only top Korean executive invited to be a convener for the summit’s Green Growth session, the working group for new renewable energy.
With his extensive experience in the global arena and communication skills, it is no wonder why Chey has been invited numerous times as a keynote speaker and panelist for international conferences and forums throughout the years.
In 1999, Chey was named as one of the ``Global Leaders for Tomorrow’’ at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
In 2002, Chey became the first Korean to become a co-chairman of the WEF East Asia Economic Summit in Malaysia, where he was in charge of presentations and conference proceedings.
The SK chairman also gave the opening address for the 2008 OECD Ministerial Meeting. He delivered a speech during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit held in Busan in 2005 and in Peru in 2008. He has participated several times in premier business forums in China, such as the Beijing Forum, Shanghai Forum and Boao Forum for Asia.
Chey is well aware of the importance businessmen play in promoting Korea’s national brand overseas. It was his suggestion to organize a ``Korea Night” during the WEF Forum in Davos, Switzerland in 2009. The event proved to be a success, attracting many global CEOs and political leaders who were treated to a night of Korean culture.
Chey was also the first Korean to be appointed as a director to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2008. The UNGC is a U.N initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
Under Chey’s leadership, SK Telecom and SK Energy joined the UNGC in 2007, becoming the first among the top four Korean conglomerates to show their commitment to corporate social responsibility. In 2009, SK Group ranked 51st in Fortune magazine`s 2008 list on corporate social responsibility, the highest ranking received by a Korean company.
Last June, Chey was invited to speak during the 2010 UNGC Leader's Summit in New York City. He spoke about the importance of expanding social enterprises and the significance of corporate social responsibility, in achieving sustainability.
Chey, who holds a B.A. in Physics from Korea University, completed a Ph.D. program in Economics at the University of Chicago.