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Ahn Cheol-soo
Member of the National Assembly
Assumed office
1 June 2022
Preceded by Kim Eun-hye
Constituency Gyeonggi Bundang A
In office
25 April 2013 – 15 April 2017
Preceded by Roh Hoe-chan
Succeeded by Kim Seong-hwan (2018)
Constituency Seoul Nowon C
Leader of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy
In office
26 March 2014 – 31 July 2014
Serving with Kim Han-gil
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Moon Jae-in
Leader of the People Party (2016-2018)
In office
2 February 2016 – 29 June 2016
Serving with Chun Jung-bae
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Park Jie-won
In office
27 August 2017 – 13 February 2018
Preceded by Park Jie-won
Succeeded by Position abolished
Leader of the People Party (2020-2022)
In office
23 February 2020 – 18 April 2022
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born (1962-02-26) 26 February 1962 (age 61)
Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Political party People Power
Other political
Independent (2012-2014), (2015-2016)
NPAD (2014–2015)
People's (2016–2018)
Bareunmirae (2018–2020)
People's (2020–2022)
Spouse(s) Kim Mi-kyung
Children 1 daughter
Alma mater Seoul National University
University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Physician
Software entrepreneur
Known for V3 (antivirus software)
Religion Roman Catholic(Christian Name : Paul Chong Hasang)
Military service
Allegiance Republic of Korea
Branch/service Republic of Korea Navy
Years of service 1992–1994
Rank SouthKorea-Navy-OF-2.svg Lieutenant (Korean: Daewi)
Ahn Cheol-soo
Revised Romanization An Cheol-su
McCune–Reischauer An Ch'ŏlsu

Ahn Cheol-soo (Hangul: 안철수 [an tɕʰʌl.s͈u]; born 26 February 1962) is a South Korean politician, medical doctor, businessperson, and software entrepreneur. He currently serves as a member of the National Assembly as part of the conservative People Power Party.

Prior to his career in politics, Ahn founded AhnLab, Inc., an antivirus software company, in 1995. He was chairman of the board and Chief Learning Officer of AhnLab until September 2012, and remains the company's largest stakeholder. Prior to entering politics, Ahn served as dean of the Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology at Seoul National University until September 2012.

Ahn made his first official entry into politics as an independent candidate in the 2012 South Korean presidential election, polling strongly before dropping out and endorsing the ultimately unsuccessful campaign of Democratic Party candidate Moon Jae-in. In the 2017 South Korean presidential election, Ahn ran as a third party candidate, losing to Moon Jae-in and winning 21.4% of the popular vote. In the 2022 South Korean presidential election, Ahn ran again as a third party candidate before dropping out of the race and endorsing conservative People Power Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol, who went on to win the election. Ahn also ran in the 2018 and 2021 elections for Mayor of Seoul.

Ahn was considered a left-wing politician when he entered politics in 2012, then considered a centrist politician by his 2017 presidential bid, and is now considered a right-wing politician.

In 2014, Ahn became one of the co-founders and co-leaders of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, now known as the Democratic Party of Korea, before stepping down from party leadership after a few months and then defecting from the party in 2015. In 2016, he was one of the co-founders of the centrist People Party and often served as party leader until the People Party and the Bareun Party merged to become the Bareunmirae Party in February 2018. In 2020, Ahn split from the Bareunmirae Party and created a new party, also called the People Party, which Ahn led until the People Party and the People Power Party merged in April 2022. Since April 2022, he has been a member of the People Power Party.

Early life and education

Ahn was born on 26 February 1962, in Miryang, South Gyeongsang Province, while his father was on military service there; he subsequently moved with his family to Busan, where he grew up. Ahn was not an academic child but had academic hobbies such as reading.

He received his doctor of medicine (MD), master of science (MS), and doctor of philosophy (Ph.D) degrees in physiology from Seoul National University between 1980 and 1991. He became the youngest chief of professors at Dankook University medical college at age 27, marking his first career milestone as a medical doctor. Ahn met his wife while in university.

While a graduate student pursuing his MD, Ahn grew interested in computer software as a hobby, in particular, antivirus software. He soon began working on his own antivirus software after a virus began mass infecting computers in Korea. Ahn was soon victimized by the same virus and reverse engineered the virus to erase it from his disk drive. The program he wrote to get rid of the virus was eventually called "Vaccine" which Ahn gave away for free.

Business career

AhnLab, Inc

After finishing military service as a medical officer in the South Korean navy, and leaving behind his career in the medical profession, Cheol-soo went on to establish his venture company AhnLab, Inc in March 1995 after being advised by a software company official to do so. Ahn had previously attempted to distribute V3 via Samsung's brand though Samsung rejected Ahn's offer.

Ahn, not knowing how to run a business at first, struggled for the first several years. Whilst managing the company, Ahn was also attempting to get a master's degree in engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 1997. Ahn eventually received a $10 million offer from US software giant, McAfee and Ahn met with John McAfee personally. McAfee was struggling to expand into South Korea due to AhnLab, Inc and wanted to purchase the company in an attempt to monopolize the anti-virus software market in South Korea. Ahn rejected the offer because, despite AhnLab struggling, selling the company would lead to widespread redundancies and might allow a foreign firm to dominate the Korean market.

In 1999, the company began to run a surplus after the CIH virus became widespread in Korea and people needed to buy V3 to protect against it. By the end of 1999, AhnLab, Inc became the second biggest computer security company in South Korea. That same year, he won the Scientist of the Year Award presented by the Korea Science Journalists Association.

The same company later became the largest computer security company in South Korea, and was included in annual lists of Korea's most admired companies by Korea Management Association Consulting between 2004 and 2008. He resigned as CEO in 2005 and served as chairman of the board until 2012.

Later life and education

Ahn became an outside director of POSCO in 2005, and from 2010 to 2011 was chairman of the company.

Ahn was awarded an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from the Wharton School (San Francisco campus) in 2008. He then became a professor at KAIST in 2008, and later in the beginning of 2011 became the Dean of the Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology at Seoul National University.

See also

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