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Samsung’s Lee welcomes calls for more shareholding activity of funds

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee on Thursday supported a presidential aide’s call for public funds to more actively exercise their rights as shareholders.

The business tycoon said he was not only unperturbed by the remarks, but he “welcomes the idea of having shareholders publicly exercise their rights.”

Lee was remarking on a speech given Tuesday by Kwak Seung-jun, head of the presidential council on vision and growth, calling on public funds such as the national pension fund to act as shareholders in large companies such as Samsung Electronics.

Kwak criticized the pension fund ― the No. 2 shareholder in Samsung Electronics ― for being partially responsible for the sense of complacency at Samsung that kept them a step behind the global smart wave.

Cheong Wa Dae said Kwak’s comments were his own, but industry watchers said it was difficult to believe that the head of such a council would be voicing opinions that differed from the government.

Business groups representing top companies issued immediate statements of protest and objection, saying it was not the public funds’ role to try and improve corporate governance, but rather, to help maximize company value.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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