Telecom operator KT said Thursday that its chairman Lee Suk-chae has no plans to resign anytime soon, expressing concern that groundless rumors may hurt its business.
A KT official denied a news report that President Park Geun-hye’s top economic adviser asked Lee, through a third party, to resign before his term ended. Lee’s tenure ends in March 2015.
“Supposing this remark is true, it does not reflect KT’s view. The chairman has no plan of an early resignation,” the KT spokesman told The Korea Herald. “We are rather concerned that the unidentified rumors may affect our business.”
Chairman Lee reportedly said, “Now is not the time (for resignation) because the broadband frequency auction is still underway, and I want to defend my honor as KT’s commander.” The state-led auction being carried out this month is to allocate frequency slots to the nation’s three main telecom operators.
Cheong Wa Dae also denied the report, saying it confirmed from senior presidential economic adviser Cho Won-dong that the claim was not true. “The government cannot be involved in the personnel matters of a private company,” the presidential office said.
Currently, South Korea’s second-largest mobile carrier’s biggest shareholder is the National Pension Service with an 8.65 percent share, but the government holds no shares.
Despite Cheong Wa Dae’s denial, controversy did not die down as previous governments allegedly exercised influence on the appointments of heads of some big companies including financial groups.
Some CEOs of public corporations, who were appointed during the previous Lee Myung-bak government, stepped down before their term’s end allegedly in the face of pressure from the inner circle of President Park.
Chairman Lee took office as president of KT in 2008 when the previous CEO stepped down under pressure from corruption scandals. Lee was promoted to chairman in 2009 and reappointed three years later by a general meeting of shareholders.
By Shin Ji-hye (email@example.com)