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Banking on Kim
June, 05th 2008

Videocon has roped in the former head of LGs India arm, K. R. Kim, to turn its fortunes around.

K. R. Kim is back. The Korean, who was earlier LGs top honcho, will now be pitting the Videocon brands against the Korean chaebols and other multinational brands in the Indian market. Taking up an assignment post retirement with the Dhoots of Videocon as Vice-Chairman and CEO of Videocon Industries, this time his India stint will be even more challenging than the last 10 years when he was with LG Electronics India and was responsible for making the brand dominant in the consumer electronics segment.

The 63-year-old veterans job on hand is to turn around Videocon and its brands and bring about operational efficiencies within the organisation. Strengthening the brands in the domestic market as well as creating global brands is his mandate and he would balance the portfolio with equal revenues being generated from both the markets. Today consumer electronics contributes revenues to the tune of Rs 6,000 crore and our target is to have a 50:50 split in revenues between the Indian and global markets. It is going to be a big challenge as I have to first change the mindset of this company, states Kim, who has been in India for less than a month.

To begin with, Kim is planning a rationalising exercise and bringing all the Videocon brands under a single company. Apart from Videocon the rest of the brands exist either as divisions or separate companies within the Videocon group and the purpose is to consolidate them all under a single company of Videocon Industries. Today it is the Videocon brand which is the strongest followed by Electrolux, Kenstar and Kelvinator; the others like Akai and Hyundai are struggling in the Indian market.

We have to see how each brand performs in the next one year. Today Videocon is the most successful brand in the companys portfolio while Hyundai is the unsuccessful one. In the next one year we may have to kick out the unsuccessful brands, says Kim, known for his master branding strategy. Hyundai Electronics, which is a division within the company, is likely to face the axe unless it improves its performance within a year. With revenues of Rs 250 crore, Hyundai is a push brand unlike the other Korean brands which enjoy customer pull in the Indian market. Akai India too has been a division within Videocon and has been using its distribution strength to build the brand in the country.

Streamlining the multi-brand strategy followed by Videocon Industries all these years, the new CEO is expected to bring all the brands under the Videocon umbrella and improve efficiencies within the company. Adds Kim, Today, each brand is under a different company and under these circumstances it is difficult to be competitive and be productive. I would like to have all the brands under one company.

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