The only daughter of Lee Myung-Hee, the current chairwoman of luxury department store Shinsegae, Chung Yoo-kyung was made an executive of Korea's largest retailing group at the age of 24 in 1999. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she studied graphic design, Yoo-kyung has established herself as a formidable presence in Korea's fashion industry, seeking out and introducing foreign fashion brands to the market. It is widely expected that she will eventually take over from her mother as chairman, as is the customarary practise with family corporations in Korea.
Thanks to her efforts, Shinsegae’s fashion unit — Shinsegae International — now boasts the largest number of global fashion brands, including Armani, Maison Martin Margiela, Marni,
Dries Van Noten
, Moncler and Givenchy. Since 2001, the retail group has also bought up real estate Seol's upsale Cheongdam-dong district (in her and her mother's name) and secured the rights for the Western luxury brands that have opened stores there in the past few years. Yoo-kyung is also responsible for transforming the second floor of Seol's Shinsegae outpost (in the upscale Gangnam distric)t into a space for luxury cosmetics.
Formerly part of the country’s largest conglomerate, Samsung Group, before being spun off in the late 1990s, Shinsegae now operates totally independently. Today her stake in the company is 21.44 percent, after receiving 1.5 million shares from her father, making her the largest stakeholder.