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(LEAD) Park Jeong-won tapped as Doosan Group's new chairman

All Headlines 17:51 March 02, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 4, 7, last 5 paras)

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- Doosan Group, a power equipment and construction conglomerate, said Wednesday that Park Jeong-won, chairman of the group's de facto holding firm Doosan Corp., was designated as the group's new chairman.

Park, 54, will replace current chairman Park Yong-maan after he is elected the chief of Doosan Corp.'s board of directors on March 25.

Usually, the chairman of Doosan's boardroom serves as the chief of South Korea's 11th-largest family-controlled conglomerate.

"I had been considering it (chairmanship secession) for years, and this year seems to be best for me to step down," Park Yong-maan was quoted as saying during Doosan's board meeting earlier in the day.

Jeong-won, the eldest son of former Doosan Group chairman Park Yong-kon and also one of Yong-maan's nephews, had been rumored to be the next to take the helm of the business group.

After joining an affiliate of Doosan Group in 1985, he served as president of Doosan Engineering & Construction Co., and more recently worked at the group's de facto holding firm Doosan Corp.

Jeong-won, a graduate of Korea University in Seoul, earned an MBA from Boston University in 1989.

Jeong-won has spearheaded the group's new businesses such as duty-free operations and fuel cells.

With Jeong-won's inauguration slated later this month, Doosan Group, which started as a small shop in 1896, will usher in the fourth-generation management.

Doosan Group has top power equipment maker Doosan Heavy Industries Co., No. 1 construction equipment maker Doosan Infracore Co., Doosan Engineering & Construction and a few other affiliates under its wing.

Meanwhile, the new chairmanship comes as Doosan Group is seeking to speed up the sale of core assets in a bid to improve its financial footing.

Doosan Infracore, the group's construction equipment maker, has reached an agreement to sell its machine tool business unit to local private equity fund MBK Partners for 1.13 trillion won (US$921 million), according to industry sources.

The company also plans to list its unit Doosan Bobcat Co. on the local bourse in a bid to improve its financial health. Doosan Infracore took over Doosan Bobcat in 2007 from Caterpillar for $4.9 billion won.

Doosan Infracore has been mired in a protracted slump in the construction sector, in China in particular.

Doosan Group's defense unit, Doosan DST, is also up for sale. Hanwha Group, LIG Group and other potential investors have shown interest in taking over the unit, a deal estimated at some 600 billion won.

Last month, Doosan Group also sold its stake in Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. for some 300 billion won, whose proceeds will be used to beef up its financial status.

sam@yna.co.kr
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