By Don Southerton, KoreaLegal.org Editor
A recent Korean headline stated Samsung was preparing for its
annual restructuring and announced a number of high level
promotions. Meanwhile Hyundai Motor Company in Korea announced new
customer service programs for the upcoming year.
Year end organizational promotions, re-structuring, and new
assignments for teams are part of Korean corporate culture. This
occurs sometime between early December and early January, with the
changes to senior leadership happening first, and team level
changes most often made known the week between Christmas and New
Year’s Day. Some years we see less re-organization of the teams,
departments, and divisions—some years more…. In most cases, we
see high level promotions coming ahead of an expected
That said, restructuring means work by the many departments and
teams will be postponed into the early weeks of the new year until
there is a clear direction by new management. In addition,
those assigned to a new departments need to be briefed by their
predecessors on projects and initiatives ( in many cases the new
team with little experience or background on their new role).
For local teams in overseas subsidiaries, some expat (ju jae
won) management changes can also occur with a combination of
Korean team members returning to Korea, while others take up new
assignments. Like in Korea these new teams will need to take time
to be briefed on current and ongoing project, and then take
time to process the information and ask questions before making any
This at times can take several weeks or in the case of senior level management months.
For vendors, this can mean a review of current agreements, too.
As always, we are here to support global teams during these