Master Card Korea CEO "Genuine" Lover for Korea

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), February 27, 2001 | Go to article overview

Master Card Korea CEO "Genuine" Lover for Korea


He says he loves Korea very much, enjoying gatherings with his local friends and company employees as well as families, composed of his Korean wife and three sons. To Alan Timblick, CEO and president of Master Card International Korea, who is residing here for 15 years, Korea no longer appears to be a foreign land. He has a special favor for the nation's natural sceneries and the traditional food and liquor, including ``makkolli.''

One of his employees introduces an episode. He asked the British boss about the reason of his love for Korea while the latter was indulging in a twilight sunset during a company picnic. ``Look at the sunset. That's the answer,'' the beaming Timblick said.

``I love all the environments around me including the work, natural beauties and the people, in particular,'' he says. Timblick has been one of the most influential figures of the foreign community here as he had served as chairman of the Foreign Banker Group here and the British Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

Despite his opt for the ``Korea specific element,'' however, he stresses the British way in doing business, with focus on fair rule and code of conduct. Since he became the company CEO in September last year, he has underlined the need to stick to ethical business practices based on strict morality.

Timblick's cherishing of the ethical aspects once frustrated the company insiders as they were pressed to cope with the intensifying competition in the card market, which grew to 214 trillion won last year.

Further embarrassing the company executives, Master Card's rival firm was making outstanding business performance. But Timblick never budged an inch from his principle.

``The end cannot justify the methods,'' he says. Korean clients have been accustomed to cash transaction and Korea has just entered the credit-based trading era through the uses of more flexible plastic money. Given this background, it is very important to change the way of thinking to properly address the shifting trend, according to Timblick.

He admits realistic difficulties in carrying through with the principle but rebuffs his possible backing down on his earlier pledge. ``Korea is certainly one of the difficult markets but keeping the brand image of Master Card in a just manner will be the surest way toward a success from a long-term perspective,'' he says. …

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