SEOUL, May 12 (Korea Bizwire) – Former Commerce Minister Lee Hee-beom was elected the new head of the planning committee for the country’s first Winter Olympics on Thursday.
Lee’s candidacy as the president of the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) was approved unanimously at the committee’s general assembly in Seoul.
His appointment will need the final stamp of approval by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, though it’s considered a mere formality at this juncture.
Lee replaces Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho, who abruptly resigned last week to tend to pressing business matters at Hanjin Shipping, one of the group’s affiliates mired in heavy debts.
Lee, 67, began his career in government in 1972, and served as the commerce minister from 2003 to 2006.
Lee has also been the head of the Korea International Trade Association (2006-2009) and the Korea Employers Federation (2010-2014), two of the five major business lobby groups, and the chairman of STX Heavy Industries Co. and STX Energy Co. from 2009 to 2013. Lee is currently an advisor for LG International Corp.
He only brings a limited background in sports, having served as an advisor for PyeongChang’s Olympic bid committee in 2006 and as the head of the bidding committee for the Gwangju Summer Universaide in 2008.
Lee’s appointment is apparently aimed at bolstering sponsorships and marketing activities for PyeongChang.
The POCOG said Lee offers “administrative capacity, marketing expertise and a wide network among the business leaders and communication skills” to act as an effective coordinator among the various levels of government and stakeholders.