Back in 1945, Suh Kyung-Bae’s father started what would become South Korea’s biggest cosmetics company. Today Kyung-Bae is building on the legacy, entering new overseas markets and pushing to make Amorepacific the world’s seventh largest beauty brand by 2020.
Few would have thought that a boy who described himself as a daydreamer and once wanted to be a music producer would turn out to be one of the richest men in South Korea, with a net worth of $1.65 billion, according to Forbes as of April 2012. Named CEO of the Year in some Korean surveys, he looks after an empire that employs more than 8,000 people in 12 countries.
“I had to admit that when I was a student I didn’t put much thought into taking over the family business. During my school years, most of my time was dedicated to music and drinking with friends,” the soft-spoken and humble CEO told Asia Focus during a recent visit to Bangkok. “Once I finished school, I joined the army like any other Korean boy. My life was actually very ordinary.”
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