Pantech Chief to Stay On Under Debt Workout Scheme

Creditors of Pantech have reportedly agreed to keep on Park Byeong-yeop, the firm's founder and vice chairman, as head of the troubled phone maker.

But they will take Park's personal stake in Korea's troubled No. 3 handset maker as collateral. Park will have to promise to give up his majority stake if the debt workout is finalized and lose his entire stake if he fails to get the company back on track.

An executive with one of the creditors said Wednesday that bank creditors feel keeping Park on would be helpful in rescuing the company, but Park will have to put up his stake in Pantech and its affiliates as collateral to take responsibility for the management failure.

The executive said creditors acknowledge Park's managerial skill and believe it would be difficult to find someone with sound knowledge and experience in the cell phone sector to replace him. Under the debt workout program, Park will become the CEO.

Bank creditors will in return agree to a delay in debt repayments and decide on a timetable for inspections of the firm and its affiliates at a meeting on Friday. That meeting will also decide Park's fate with the company.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 14, 2006 10:59 KST