Ex-Ssangyong Group Chairman Kim Suk-won dies at 78

Kim Suk-won, former chairman of the now-defunct Ssangyong Group, has died of old age, his aides said Saturday. He was 78.

Kim took over the midsized business group, which started as a cement-making company in 1975. The business group went on to aggressively expand into the construction, financial and automaking sectors.

In 1986, Ssangyong Group took over a local automaker that focused on producing SUVs.

But Kim's empire crashed in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and he was indicted on account fraud charges in 2005.

Ssangyong Motor, the flagship of Ssangyong Group, was sold to China-based SAIC Motor Corp. in 2004, but the Chinese automaker relinquished control of the carmaker in 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis.

SsangYong was placed under a court receivership in 2009.

In 2011, India-based Mahindra acquired a controlling stake in SsangYong, but the Indian carmaker unloaded its controlling stake and the company was put on the selling block. A KG Group-led consortium was picked as the preferred bidder for the automaker in 2022.

Source: Yonhap News Agency