German-Born TV Celebrity to Head Tourism Organization

      July 29, 2009 11:42

      A Korean public corporation will for the first time in history be headed by a foreign-born naturalized Korean. Lee Charm (55), the German-born media celebrity, was appointed CEO of the Korea Tourism Organization on Tuesday.

      The KTO said a steering committee under the Ministry of Strategy and Finance announced Lee's appointment. Over the last 20 years, Lee has been a panelist on TV shows, university lecturer, and CEO of a company. He also hosts "Upgrade Korea" on KTV. During the last presidential election campaign, Lee served as a special adviser on the Grand Canal Project for President Lee Myung-bak.

      Lee Charm speaks during a lecture marking the 60th anniversary of Korea's founding last year. /Yonhap

      Lee came to Korea for a seminar on religion in 1978 and decided to settle here. He became a Korean citizen in 1986 and is the progenitor of "German Lee" clan.

      His first Korea name was Lee Han-woo, but he changed it to Lee Charm in 2001. He married a Korean woman in 1982 and they have one son and one daughter.

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