When K.C. Park worked at IBM in the early 1980s trying to develop liquid-crystal-display technologies, he grew frustrated by how slowly the U.S. giant invested in the new field compared with its Japanese rivals. Later, as head of its multimedia unit in 1993, he again became disillusioned at IBM's timidity in betting on the future. So two years ago, Park, at 58, packed in his 27-year IBM career and returned to his native South Korea to become executive vice-president of LG Electronics Inc., a $6.5 billion unit of the group formerly called Lucky-Goldstar.

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