‘Women’s careers are an investment, not a sacrifice’: IPG leader MJ Kim

March 12, 2024 | Share this article

To commemorate International Women’s Day, we speak with the Korea CEO of IPG Mediabrands on the evolving role of the ‘working housewife’, why higher education is key, and a priceless lesson attained from Tom Cruise.

In 2022, Benja Stig Fagerland, founder of Sheconomy, an organisation working towards progress in gender-based social sustainability, said in an interview with The Korea Times that female leadership is “not just a diversity issue, but a necessity for survival.”

The article followed the announcement of a mandate by Korea, which obligated listed companies with assets exceeding 2 trillion won ($1.5 billion) to appoint at least one female member to their management teams. As a result, the percentage of female directors in Korea rose from 10.5% in 2016 to 14.6% in 2022, in accordance with data quoted from The Economist.

Currently, women only account for 6% of executives at Korea’s top firms, indicating that the journey towards gender parity in corporate leadership is only beginning to take its first steps in the country. MJ Kim is among those paving the path.

An ad industry veteran with over 30 years of experience across media-planning, buying and products, she’s now the CEO of IPG Mediabrands in Korea, assuming the position in January 2020 after nearly 17 years with UM. Throughout her varied career, Kim has also worked for the likes of Starcom and McCann-Erickson, where she joined in the early 90s as an account executive.

Read more at Campaign Asia.