Once a Wärtsilian, always a Wärtsilian
A successful 30-year career depends on developing people, embracing change and focusing on quality. Wärtsilä Korea’s Sung Bok Yoo (better known as SB) has led a career that has managed all that and more.
If you want to succeed at something you need to practice, practice and practice. And considering his vast amount of experience, SB Yoo has clearly done a lot of practising during his time at Wärtsilä.
“I lead sales in Wärtsilä as the Country General Manager in South Korea,” he says. “I joined the company 33 years ago as a sales manager and have kept to the essence of that role throughout my time here. As a salesman, I have been part of all kinds of development and success stories at Wärtsilä in Korea.”
South Korea is a major powerhouse in global shipbuilding, which makes it an important country for Wärtsilä. SB has seen shipbuilding in Korea develop greatly over the past three decades.
“We have introduced many different types of new technologies and solutions to Korean shipyards over the years,” he explains. “I can quite confidently say that Wärtsilä’s contribution in the development of Korean shipbuilding industry is not insignificant.”
Leading the change
As the person responsible for leading sales in the country, SB has contributed to every sales contract that has been signed with customers. However, in a career filled with noteworthy deals, he feels his greatest contribution has been encouraging LNG (liquified natural gas) carriers to switch from steam turbine propulsion to diesel-electric using the Wärtsilä 50 dual-fuel (W50DF) engines.
“Wärtsilä made a cooperation agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries for the dual-fuel engine room concept for LNG carriers on 26 October 2001. This was a deal that received my strongest recommendation,” he explains. “The study between the two companies took almost a year to complete, and in 2002 we introduced a new LNG carrier with dual-fuel and diesel-electric (DF-DE) to the market.”
So impressed was British Petroleum with the new DF-DE concept that they soon ordered three similar LNG carriers from the Hyundai Heavy Industries. The rest of the industry took note and more orders quickly followed.
“This resulted in the establishment of a joint venture company, Wärtsilä-Hyundai Engine Company, to meet the demand of W50DF from the market,” recalls SB proudly. “I’d say the most memorable day of my life in Wärtsilä was 23 January 2007. This was the day we signed a joint venture between Wärtsilä and Hyundai Heavy Industries to manufacture W50DF engines for Korea, Japan and China.”
Always a Wärtsilian
Today, SB focuses on taking care of his colleagues and maintaining great relationships with customers, when he is not gardening or taking care of his grandchildren.
SB has seen many changes during his 33 years with Wärtsilä and looking ahead, he feels that the move from hardware to software and services is one of the most important trends to pursue. He also emphasises the need to change the organisation of the company to meet current and coming changes in the market.
“Wärtsilä is clearly leading the change in the marine industry,” declares SB. “And I believe the current focus of the company on smart, sustainable and digital technologies will also be market leading.”
This is a future that SB is excited, but a little melancholic about.
“I’m so sorry to say that I cannot join the big success of the company in the future because I will retire from this good company next year, in 2020,” he says wistfully. “But you can be sure that I will always be supporting and rooting for Wärtsilä from the outside.”