Kim Dong-cheol, a former four-term lawmaker, on Monday was appointed as the new CEO of the troubled state-run utility firm Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO), company officials said.
The appointment was approved at a temporary shareholders' meeting held at the KEPCO headquarters in the southwestern city of Naju earlier in the day, after the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy last month recommended Kim as the sole candidate for the next CEO.
His appointment is subject to approval by President Yoon Suk Yeol. If approved, Kim will be the first politician-turned-CEO of the utility firm since its establishment in 1961.
KEPCO's top post has been vacant since May, as then KEPCO CEO Cheong Seung-il quit, holding himself responsible for the company's snowballing losses and financial woes.
Last year, KEPCO suffered a record-high operating loss of 32.63 trillion won (US$24.59 billion), more than quadruple from a year earlier, due mainly to high global energy prices and limited hikes in electricity rates.
As of end-June, KEPCO's total debt had come to 201.4 trillion won, the largest amount among all South Korean listed firms, according to government data.
Kim, 67, worked for the Korea Development Bank for about seven years before joining the political circle as an aide to a lawmaker in 1989.
He won his first parliamentary seat in 2004 and served as a lawmaker until 2020.
Kim had mostly been affiliated with liberal parties, and served as a floor leader of the now-defunct People's Party and the minor Bareunmirae Party.
In 2021, Kim worked for Yoon to support his presidential election bid and served as a member of his transition team last year.
Source: Yonhap News Agency