Kim, 67, who had been President of the committee (POCOG) since
2011, had his resignation accepted by the government despite his
term running until October 2015.
"Pyeongchang 2018 is at a turning point for the latter half of its
Games preparation, which requires more detailed planning and
execution," Kim said in a statement.
"At this critical juncture, I believe that Pyeongchang 2018 needs
new leadership and a stronger system that will effectively carry out
various Games-related projects. And this is why I decided to resign
as President of POCOG."
Kim's departure follows that of Moon Dong-hoo, the Vice President
and Secretary General of the committee, who tendered his resignation
in May citing health problems but only quit earlier this month.
The organization is in the process of a review by the Board of Audit
and Inspection (BAI), who refused to say what prompted the
investigation in the first place.
"Yes, there is an audit going on but it's not a regular audit. It is
a specific-subject audit. POCOG is not big enough for us to audit
regularly, like we do the ministry of culture, sports and tourism
annually," a BAI official told Reuters.
"The process is still ongoing. We just completed only the on-site
part of the months-long audit. Thus we have no result yet."
An official at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism denied
that Kim's resignation was a result of the investigation and praised
the outgoing president, who had been a special ambassador for
Pyeongchang's successful bid after heading their two failed attempts
in 2003 and 2007.
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"He has made tremendous effort and substantial contribution to
winning the bid and preparing for the Games," the official told
"His resignation has nothing to do with the inspection from the BAI.
Kim said since he has done building a foundation, such as stadiums,
it makes more sense to bring in new talent to successfully host the
2018 Games. He felt that his role is done."
Local media said businessman Cho Yang-ho, head of the Korea Table
Tennis Association, was the favorite to succeed Kim.
Cho, though, denied he would take up the role.
"Taking the position is a great honor for the country but I have a
lot of work at hand that requires my full-time commitment," he said
in a statement.
"Therefore I cannot take up the position as the head of POCOG. But I
will do my best in order to make the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games
(Writing by Patrick Johnston, editing by Nick Mulvenney)
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