Cleantopia CEO Byun Sung-hyun poses at the company’s head office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. Photo courtesy of Cleantopia

Byun taking charge of Korea’s top laundry franchise

Cleantopia, South Korea’s foremost laundry franchise, announced this week that it had named marketing expert Byun Sung-hyun as its new chief executive.

The appointment came on the heels of the ownership change of the Seongnam-based company, around 20 kilometers South of Seoul.

Last month, homegrown private equity fund JKL Partners spent 190 billion won ($160 million) to purchase Cleantopia from its founder Lee Bum-taek.

“We will focus on our core competency of offering quality services at a reasonable price and in a convenient fashion,” Byun said in his inaugural speech.

“Plus, we will make our company an unparalleled powerhouse of the industry by adding new growth engines to enhance customer experiences.”

In time with his inauguration, the 48-year-old CEO came up with various measures to support its franchise shops.

After studying at Seoul National University and the University of Chicago, Byun got aboard Bain & Company in Korea as a consultant.

Before joining Cleantopia, he worked as marketing chief at the Korean unit of Allianz and A Twosome Place, a coffeehouse chain here.

Established in 1992, Cleantopia has chalked up a fast growth over the past three decades to become the business bellwether of the country dominated by mom-and-pop stores.

The outfit logged its record operating profit of 9.2 billion won ($7.9 million) last year on sales of 84.7 billion won ($72 million).

Currently, Cleantopia operates around 3,000 franchise shops across the country while carving out up to four-fifths of the market.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.