Cheong named new CEO of Korea Electric Power Corp.

Cheong Seung-Il

Cheong Seung-il, former vice-minister of trade, industry and energy, has been appointed the 21st president and chief executive officer of state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO).

The appointment was approved at a temporary shareholders’ meeting held at KEPCO headquarters in South Jeolla Province. Cheong Seung-il succeeds former KEPCO CEO Kim Jong-kap.

Cheong has served in various key public official posts, including president and CEO at Korea Gas Corporation in 2018 and deputy minister for energy and resources and deputy minister for trade and investment in 2016. He also served as director general for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) policy in 2015 and director general at the Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) in the early 2010s.

According to news sources present at an inaugural ceremony, Cheong urged staff and executives to “lead the changing paradigm of zero carbon” and “seriously consider an aggressive transition of the energy system.” He emphasized the key goals of decentralization, decarbonization and smarter services.

Cheong plans to establish a grid system optimized for renewable energy, as well as use digital tools such as artificial intelligence to advance the nation’s green development.

Cheong graduated from Seoul National University with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration.

“I extend my sincerest appreciation to electricity customers, domestic and international shareholders and business partners…KEPCO will stay at the forefront in building a new growth engine by achieving “digital transformation” of energy, which is expected to serve as a new pillar of the fourth industrial revolution,” Cheong said. “KEPCO’s efforts will also extend to creating high quality jobs by increasing the export of our nuclear power and energy businesses.”

Korea is traditionally reliant on fossil fuels. However, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest country report, the government is committed to decarbonizing by 2050, increasing renewables while phasing out coal in the energy mix, improving energy efficiency, as well as fostering the country’s nascent hydrogen industry.

KEPCO has one subsidiary hydro generating company, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, which owns and operates 27 hydroelectric power plants.

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