Nongshim-founder's-grandson-joins-the-food-empire
Nongshim founders grandson Shin Sang-yeol is scheduled to join the top Korean snack maker. Courtesy of Nongshim

The grandson of Nongshim Chairman Shin Chun-ho will join the country’s leading maker of instant noodles, or ramyeon, the Seoul-based company confirmed on March 9.

Nongshim said that Shin Sang-yeol, who graduated from Columbia University and worked as an intern at a foreign firm, will start working for the company founded by his grandfather.

Currently, Nongshim is headed by the founder’s son, Vice Chairman Shin Dong-won. Sang-yeol is his eldest son.

What we can say for sure is that Sang-yeol will join Nongshim. We have yet to decide anything else,” a Nongshim spokesman said.

As of the end of September 2018, the third-generation businessman had a 1.41 percent share in Nongshim Holdings, the holding company of the food empire. He is known to have purchased stocks of the holding company and Nongshim over the past few years.

Currently, Vice Chairman Shin is firmly in charge of group management. In consideration of Nongshim’s tradition of handing over management to the eldest son, however, observers regard Sang-yeol as the heir apparent.

Shin Chun-ho is the younger brother of Lotte Group founder Shin Kyuk-ho. He set up the Lotte Industrial Company in 1965 and changed its name to Nongshim in 1978.

His son, Vice Chairman Shin, entered the company in 1979 and served as a senior managing director from the mid-1990s.

Of note is what roles the third-generation Shin will assume and how fast he may be promoted. Siblings of tycoon family members tend to enjoy very fast promotions without regard to merits or performance.

For example, Celltrion founder Seo Jung-jin’s son Joon-serk was recently promoted to director of the operations management department just two years after he joined the outfit.

The 32-year-old’s elder brother Jin-seok, 35, has been a senior vice president at Celltrion since 2017.

Nongshim is the country’s primary snack maker and has briskly advanced into overseas markets.

For example, it signed a deal with Walmart in 2017 to provide its instant noodle products at all U.S. Walmart stores.

Nongshim inked a direct supply contract with Walmart for its products in 2013. Merely prominent global outfits including Coca-Cola and Nestle directly sell to the U.S. retail titan.