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Korea ushers in era of female financial execs

Korea ushers in era of female financial execs

Hana, KEB follow suit in appointing new female leaders

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Published : 2013-12-29 20:25
Updated : 2013-12-29 20:31

(from left) IBK CEO Kwon Seon-joo, BOK Deputy Gov. Suh Young-kyung, Shinhan executive Shin Soon-cheol

In a year when Korea’s first female president took the helm, the appointment of female executives has also gained momentum, apparently ushering in a new era for the country’s conservative, male-dominated work culture.

Citing the new appointees’ exceptional skills and lucrative experience in communication, risk management, sales and other business operations, state-run and private financial companies alike have been breaking the glass ceiling.

Quasi-sovereign institutions such as the Bank of Korea, the state-run Industrial Bank of Korea and private banks such as Shinhan Bank promoted and named female executives and leaders throughout the year.

Other private banks such as Hana Bank and Korea Exchange Bank also announced the appointments of their first female executives on Sunday following their peers’ moves toward a new corporate culture and values for future growth.

Hana Financial Group said it promoted three women ― Kim Deok-ja, Cheon Kyeong-mi and Jung Hyun-ju ― to run its flagship Hana Bank key divisions.

Kim, who began her career at Seoul Bank in 1978, was named senior executive vice president of Hana Bank’s consumer finance division. Hana Bank merged with Seoul Bank in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.

Cheon, also named senior executive vice president, will be supervising Hana Bank’s sales division in Daejeon beginning January. She began her career in 1994 with Chungchong Bank, which was also acquired by Hana following the financial crisis.

Jung, who has been with Hana since 1993, was appointed executive vice president of Hana Bank’s sales division in the southern region of its operations.

“Hana Financial has moved to efficiently reorganize its key personnel as a means to tap and secure new growth engines,” the group said in a statement.

Furthermore, Korea Exchange Bank, the country’s largest foreign exchange bank, acquired by Hana Financial last year, said it appointed its first female insider ― Choi Dong-sug ― as the managing director of the FX bank’s sales support division.

Choi, who has been with the bank since 1979, is a sales expert, KEB said, noting that she has been working in sales for 24 years, and has been the bank’s “professor of foreign exchange business” for its employees.

“Choi is well-qualified for the position due to her rich experience out on the field with customers,” KEB said in a statement.

In December, Shinhan Bank named its first female executive, Shin Soon-cheol, as the bank’s assistant deputy CEO, while Kwon Seon-joo was named IBK CEO.

The central bank appointed Suh Young-kyung as deputy governor for the first time early this year.

By Park Hyong-ki (

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