Getting Religion

PAUL HU/ASSIGNMENT ASIA FOR TIME

HE MEANS BUSINESS: "I don't want LG to be perceived as nice," says Kim, LG Electronics' CEO. "None of the great companies in the world are nice"

Call Kim Ssang Su a man of the people. On a chilly night in the picturesque mountains south of Seoul, Kim, CEO of LG Electronics Inc., holds aloft a paper cup filled to the rim with soju, a clear, sweet potato-based Korean alcohol with a vicious bite. Surrounding him are a dozen of the 300 LG suppliers' managers whom Kim has spent the day lecturing and rallying. They have also been hiking up a snow-covered mountainside — necessary training, he says, for the grand plans he has for South Korea's second largest electronics firm. At the end of the day, he...

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