(The following is the inaugural address given at Kia headquarters in Seoul
on December 22, 1998 by incoming Kia President Kim Soo-Joong.)
I'd like to extend a warm welcome to the entire Kia family. Both your and my
weighty responsibility to normalize operations at Kia at an early date has
brought us here today. Although I've only been a member of the Kia family
for a short time, I've been able to see the potential and infinite possibilities
of the Kia family.
Building on over a proud half-century of achievement, Kia has accumulated
outstanding technology. That technology has been used to build solid vehicles
that have won over the hearts of their owners. But in spite of this tradition and
support, you have gone through a truly heartbreaking experience over the
past 18 months. Your unwavering devotion to the company has made a lasting
impression on many people, and I am sure that it will be an even more significant
factor in Kia's future accomplishments.
My dear Kia family-- As we now prepare to begin a new chapter in Kia history,
we must have a clear sense of mission as we mark our "second founding."
I stand before you today with the goal of returning Kia to profitability within three
years. 1999 will be a turning point in Kia's return to normal operations. But I cannot
achieve this goal by myself; it will take the combined efforts of the entire Kia family.
In the remainder of my address, I'd like to go over a few of the areas we must work
on together until the day our goal is achieved.
First, we must lay the foundation for the early normalization of operations by
dramatically improving profitability and securing stable sales growth. The most
urgent task in this normalization process is to achieve our 1999 production and
sales targets. Toward this end, we will integrate our previously separate production,
sales, and service organizations as we take this golden opportunity to implement
business reforms. We must now each reaffirm our commitment to faithfully carry
out our basic responsibilities and set aside our "business as usual" attitude.
Second, we must rise above antagonistic labor-management relations to build
a constructive relationship. The most important factor in building a constructive
relationship is the normalization of operations. For its part, management must also
take a pragmatic approach toward transparency in decisionmaking. There's an
old Korean expression that goes "Newer every day."