BASF Korea, the local unit of German chemical company BASF, has named a German as its spokesman, an official said Thursday, a rare move that may signal a growing presence of German businessmen in South Korea.
Reinhard Staudacher, who had handled corporate communications at the German headquarters for about two decades, was appointed as head of corporate communications of BASF Korea in September, the official said.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is unprecedented for BASF Korea to have a spokesman from the headquarters.
It is rare for foreign companies to have a foreign spokesperson as the job requires frequent contacts with local reporters.
Staudacher was not immediately reached for comment.
Germans hold top executive positions in most of the about 300 German companies in South Korea, with BMW Korea and Siemens Korea being notable exceptions. The two local units are headed by two South Korean businessmen.
The ratio of Germans is also high in chief financial officer jobs in German companies in South Korea, a clear sign that Germans want to hold the purse strings.
A German company official said his company has a small number of German executives, though five chief financial officers were all Germans over the past decade. The official asked not to be identified, citing policy.
The development has caused friction between some South Koreans and their German executives.
A South Korean official of vehicle importer Audi Volkswagen Korea Ltd. complained that the company treats South Koreans as thieves and suspects corruption without any grounds. The official asked not to be identified, citing the issue's sensitivity.
About a dozen employees of Audi Volkswagen Korea quit their jobs in recent months despite strong sales in South Korea.