South Korean President Names Hong Knowledge Economy Minister

South Korean President Lee Myung Bak named Hong Suk Woo as the new Minister of Knowledge Economy after his predecessor resigned to take responsibility for rolling blackouts in September.

Hong, 58, the president of the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency, will replace Choi Joong Kyung, 55, after his appointment is ratified by the National Assembly at a hearing, according to a statement posted on the website of the presidential office today.

Hong joined the government as a civil servant in the commerce ministry in 1980 and specializes in issues related to industry, trade and small-sized business, according to the statement. He was the administrator for small and medium businesses between 2008 and 2010, the presidential office said.

The Korea Power Exchange, controlled by the Knowledge Economy Ministry, implemented the temporary outages on Sept. 15 after soaring temperatures increased electricity consumption while power-generation capacity was reduced due to plant maintenance. Choi apologized for not giving consumers prior notice of the blackouts, which affected 7.5 million households, and offered on Sept. 27 to resign to take responsibility.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sangim Han in Seoul at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at

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