Yangho Byeon
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Yangho Byeon

Showing the new face of Asia

General manager, international finance department, ministry of finance, Korea

Yangho Byeon had just completed a day of one-on-one meetings, had sat through a gruelling investor lunch and was reeling from jet lag. It was the last meeting of the day and the bankers and officials sitting in the presentation with John Hancock's fund managers were all desperate to get away.

One of the fund managers began making pertinent points about Korea's problems, however, and the ministry of finance's general manager of international finance rose to the debate. "That meeting lasted well over an hour-and-a-half," smiles Michael Kim, Salomon Smith Barney's head of Asian investment banking. "Byeon was exhausted but he also found it very intellectually stimulating and couldn't stop."

It says a lot about Byeon, who by any definition is a workaholic. He is also intensely modest. "I am not a workaholic," he asserts. "I just try to finish my work. But the environment is very difficult and there is a lot of work." He works seven days a week - Euromoney spoke to him at the office at 6pm on a Sunday evening - and in the particularly frenetic first quarter of the year he rarely finished work before midnight.

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