Korean-billionaires-Chung-Eui-sun
Hyundai Motor Group Executive Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun/Courtesy of Hyundai Motor Group

1. Wealth: $2.4 billion (Forbes, 2019)

2. Date of birth: October 18, 1970

Chung Eui-sun is the executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group. As the only son of Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo, he is a de-facto leader of South Korea’s second-largest conglomerate.

3. Company & title: Hyundai Motor/Executive Vice Chairman

Chung practically leads Hyundai Motor Group, which has such subsidiaries as Hyundai Motor, the country’s largest automaker, and No. 2 auto firm Kia Motors as well as Hyundai E&C, the nation’s primary builder.

He joined Hyundai in 1994 and became executive vice chairman in 2018. Officially, he is the No. 2 man of the automotive group as the heir apparent of Chairman Chung, but some note that he is already the de-facto leader as amply demonstrated by his bizzare title of executive vice chairman.

4. Educational backgrounds: University of San Francisco, Korea University

Chung studied in Korea and the United States.

5. Marital status: Married (wife: Chung Ji-seon)

Chung married Chung Ji-seon, the daughter of Sampyo Group Chairman Chung Do-won, in 1996 to have two children. Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung and Sampyo Chairman Chung are known to graduate from the same high school so as to maintain a long-term relationship.

6. Relatives:

Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung: Grandfather

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo: Father

Chung Sung-yi, Chung Myung-yi, Chung Yoon-yi: Sisters

Hyundai Heavy Industry’s largest shareholder Chung Mong-joon: Uncle

7. Criminal records:

In 2006, Chairman Chung was imprisoned on charges of creating slash funds with company money. The next year, he was convicted of embezzlement, although his sentence was suspended.

Back then, Chairman Chung was also convicted of selling securities to his son Chung Eui-sun at below-market prices.

The prosecution also investigated the Junior Chung, but it suspended the indictment on him.

8. Controversies:

In most Korean chaebol, founding families exercise almost unchecked control despite their small direct shareholdings. Its owners agonize over how to transfer their control to their siblings while paying minimum taxes.

In addition, they are usually vulnerable to attacks of activist groups, which snap up shares of major chaebol subsidiaries to start proxy wars with founding families.

Hyundai and its Executive Vice Chairman Chung went through the two issues over the past several years.

Chung has long been accused of unfairly supporting such units as Hyundai Glovis, the group’s logistics arm where he and his father heavily invested.

In late 2018 and early 2019, Chung and his father were challenged by U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management, which spent more than $1 billion to gobble up Hyundai shares.

The New York-based fund asked for a huge amount of one-off dividends and appointment of new outside directors.

Chung and his father managed to win the proxy war, but the case showed that the management of Korea’s second-largest business group could be challenged with just $1 billion.

 

9. Related articles:

Elliott adds more pressure on Hyundai

Elliott Management versus Korean conglomerates