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S. Korean steelmaker POSCO CEO resigns

Joon Yang Chung, chairman and chief executive officer of POSCO steel, speaks during the Steel Success Strategies conference in New York, June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTX10SLZ

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean steelmaker POSCO <005490.KS> said on Friday chief executive Chung Joon-yang is leaving, the second major management change in the country's private sector in less than a month.

The move comes after months of media speculation that he may come under pressure to quit because a new government led by President Park Geun-hye took office in February.

KT Corp, South Korea's biggest fixed-line operator, announced last week its CEO, Lee Suk-chae, was resigning after prosecutors raided its headquarters amid a widening corruption probe.

POSCO and KT Corp <030200.KS> have often seen CEOs quit before their terms expire when a new government takes office because the companies were once state-owned and the government retains a large amount of influence over their operations.

"Despite challenging business conditions, POSCO has reported strong performances, but I've decided to leave so that a new leadership can lead POSCO's growth as a leading global company," Chung said in a statement. He said that there has been no external pressure for him to leave.

POSCO plans to form a CEO nomination committee, which will recommend a candidate at its shareholders meeting scheduled in March.

Local media reports said Park's election campaign aide, Kim Jong-in, and SK Innovation <096770.KS> CEO Koo Ja-young, who was a former managing director at POSCO, are among the potential candidates to succeed Chung.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Matt Driskill)