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[Busan Ilbo] Cheon Soo-hye, President of Korean Business Women’s Federation
Name admin Date 2010-02-08
[Attention to this person!] President Cheon Soo Hye of the Korean Business Women’s Federation
“Want to break business barriers against women”

“I will try my best to help female business leaders make the most of their accurate and delicate management abilities to enhance the development of our society,” said Cheon Soo Hye (62, CEO of Orient Shipyard), who was elected the 6th president of the Korean Business Women’s Federation on the 29th of this month.

During the past three years, she has worked as the president of the Busan branch of the federation and displayed her management ability in the shipbuilding industry, which was believed to be an exclusive business area for men. She will take the lead of the federation for three years, supporting female business leaders in Korea.

The Only Female Business Leader in Shipbuilding
Start working from the middle of the month for her 3-year position
For Purchase Activation and System Improvement

President Cheon is planning to do her best to expand support for female business leaders in vitalizing public purchase and comprehensive support centers for enterprises run by women, and in helping smooth and prompt adaptation of women's policies.

She emphasized that she would focus on helping women leaders to break the fixed ideas of the society and to demonstrate their abilities because she personally has experienced many difficulties in managing business as a female leader.

While she was working as a school teacher after graduating Busan Namsung Girls’ High School and Donga University, majoring English Literature, Cheon met her husband, Lee Dong Hee (President of Orient Shipyard) in 1971 and the marriage changed her life.

She accompanied her husband to foreign countries, including Russia, helping him establish maritime business and in the 1970s she founded a maritime store and started her life as a woman business leader by becoming the CEO of Orient Marine in 1987.

“I wasn’t involved in any social activities. Running the company, I just commuted between my home and company. I was afraid of the fixed ideas of society. They say, 'It goes ill with the house where the hen sings and the cock is silent.' Things have changed since then though, and social awareness towards women business leaders has grown, but there still exist many business barriers for women leaders.”

In 1995, Cheon jumped into the ship repair business by establishing Orient Shipyard in Gupyeongdong, Saha-gu, Busan.

She grew the business by exerting her ability and advanced into her new shipbuilding industry in 2006. Her company mainly constructed small and medium sized ships, and in 2008 expanded her business by constructing a large shipyard with an area of 30,000 pyeong on a site in Gwangyang.

In the current global economic crisis, she is also experiencing difficulties with the recession of the shipbuilding industry, however, she expects business will slowly recover after it hits the bottom and bounces back this year.

Cheon will have busy days for the next three years coming and going to offices in Seoul and Busan.

Receiving the inauguration as president of the Korean Business Women’s Federation in the middle of the month, Cheon plans to work for improving the system and to vitalize the purchase from companies run by women. She will increase the private contract limitation for products produced by women-owned companies from the current 20 million won to 100 million won, and raise public organizations’ purchase rate for products from women-owned companies from the current 5% of products and service, and 3% of construction work, to 5% of construction work.

In addition, she will try to draw on government funds for branch center purchases or center expansion of six branches of the 13 Korean Business Women’s Federation branches.

She will also try to vitalize low-interest small loans for women-owned companies that are experiencing financial stringency.

Cheon finished the interview by asking, “If I could be of help in improving the social status of female business leaders, what else could make me feel happier?”