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Woori, Shinhan in search of new chairmen

Two of the nation’s three major financial groups are to choose their next chairmen in about a month.

Woori Financial Group’s incumbent chairman Lee Pal-seung will see his term end in March and Shinhan Financial Group currently maintains an interim chairman system due to the recent internal feud among executives.

Woori Financial launched a committee Friday, which will recommend the list of several candidates for the group’s new chairman. The committee will come up with candidates and propose one to the board of directors by the end of February. Shareholders are scheduled to hold an annual meeting on March 25 to endorse the final candidate.

There is a possibility that the incumbent chairman may serve another three-year term as the group has been pushing ahead with privatization in coordination with the state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp., the biggest shareholder of Woori.

While Woori chairman Lee is seeking a second-term, Kang Man-soo, former finance minister and currently a special advisor to the president on economic affairs, has been mentioned as a candidate for the post.

Kang, 66, who resigned as minister of strategy and finance at the start of 2009, will be eligible for a financial market job in February. Former bureaucrats are legally barred from seeking private-sector employment in industries influenced by their old jobs within two years of retirement.

On Saturday, Shinhan Financial will complete its shortlist of candidates for its vacant chairman position while the group has been under acting chairman Ryoo Shee-yul since December.

Aside from Woori, former minister Kang is a potential candidate for the Shinhan chief.

Among other competitors are interim chairman Ryu, National Pension Fund Chairman Jun Kwang-woo, Shinhan Card Vice Chairman Hong Sung-kyun and Sogang University honorary professor Kim Myung-soo.

By Kim Yon-se (kys@heraldcorp.com)
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