Ex-LG software expert named Korean IT minister

Ex-LG digitisation and software expert Yoo Yeong-min has been named the new minister of South Korea’s IT ministry.

Yoo, who worked at LG Electronics and LG CNS, was named minister for the Science, ICT and Future Planning portfolio, according to a statement from Cheong Wa Dae, the presidential office of Korea.

Yoo was the best candidate to meet the upcoming challenges and lead research and development in future technology, the president’s office said in its statement.

He joined LG Electronics in 1979 and worked in digitisation at the company. He then led business and finance at sister firm LG CNS from 2004 to 2005, and was also chief operating officer at Posco ICT, the IT service arm of local steel giant Posco, in 2010.

Yoo’s appointment followed new President Moon Jae-in’s promises to foster “the fourth industrial revolution”, or the merging of conventional industries with IT.

South Korea’s IT industry is heavily reliant on hardware exports — such as displays, components, and semiconductors from LG and Samsung — while IT service firms such as Kakao or Line have yet to gain traction globally.

The country is planning to begin mandatory classes in software, such as coding for middle school and high school students, next year.

Moon replaced former Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was impeached following a bribery scandal — which included allegations of Samsung paying Park’s associate millions for influence — earlier this year.

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