South Korean spirits producer Doosan Corp. has appointed James B. Bemowski as its chief executive officer and vice chairman, the first time it has had a non-Korean CEO. In fact, the appointment is thought to make Doosan the first major Korean business to have a foreign chief executive.

A former management consultant with McKinsey, Bemowski is currently vice chairman of Southern Bank Berhad of Malaysia. He will take up his position at Doosan in November.

Bemowski's first task will be to oversee the planned restructuring of Doosan into a holding company over the next three years.

"We have been trying to become a company of global standing, but that was not possible without a foreign chief executive," a Doosan spokesperson was quoted as saying.