Korea Investment Corporation (KIC), Korea’s sovereign fund, announced the appointment of Don Lee Dong-Ik as its new chief investment officer, succeeding Scott Kalb. Lee has been with KIC since 2008 as managing director and head of its private-market group.

The appointment took effect on Monday (April 2) and is a three-year term. Kalb, who has completed a three-year term, is expected to remain with KIC in an advisory capacity until June.

Lee graduated from Korea University with a major in economics in 1981 and received an MBA from George Washington University in 1991. He also worked as a market analyst at the International Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank.

Between 1997 and 2001 he worked for Samsung Life, running its overseas investments division, and from 2001 to 2006 he was in charge of investments at STIC Investments, a local private-equity fund. Before joining KIC in 2008, he also worked as financial adviser to Key Partners in Korea.

Lee is the first Korean national to serve as CIO, after American Kalb and Malaysian Guan Ong. The organisation’s shareholders -- the Ministry of Finance and Strategy and the Bank of Korea -- wanted to appoint a Korean now that the KIC’s infrastructure is established.

Lee brings a network and history of working with other global sovereign funds and pension funds, and will continue to oversee the build-out of KIC’s alternative investments.

Lee tells AsianInvestor: “As the first Korean CIO of KIC, I feel tremendous responsibility and pride as well. There will be no immediate change in overall investment strategies, but I will take enough time to evaluate the current portfolio."

KIC searched both locally and globally for Kalb’s replacement, reportedly considering 27 applicants, which was eventually narrowed down to a shortlist of three over the past few months.