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[Newsmaker] Hyundai Motor chief retains board seat

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Published : 2017-03-17 19:47
Updated : 2017-03-17 19:49

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo renewed his board membership at Friday’s shareholder meeting with the carmaker’s largest institutional investor, National Pension Service, abstaining from the vote.

The 79-year-old Hyundai chief retained his seat on the nine-member board for the seventh time with his membership set to expire in 2020. At the meeting the wage limit of the board members was set at 15 billion won ($13.2 million), the same as last year. Chung‘s son, Vice Chairman Chung Eui-sun, is also a member of the board. Shareholders also decided to allocate up to 4,000 won per share as a cash return policy, including a 1,000 won interim dividend. 

Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo. (The Korea Herald)

The meeting was held amid market speculations that NPS opposes Chung retaining his seat. The state-run pension operator is the carmaker’s second-largest stockholder with 8.14 percent of shares.

Two advisory firms -- the Center for Good Corporate Governance and Sustinvest -- opposed the bill nominating Chung as a boardroom member, citing Hyundai’s involvement in the ongoing political scandal that led the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye and Chung’s 2008 embezzlement charge and breach of trust.

Insiders, however, hailed the decision saying that the owner‘s leadership is essential to the carmaker‘s growth.

“To survive and stake out a place in the rapidly changing automobile sector, we need a bold owner-leader. Professional executives tend to lack audacity, because they have to make progress in the term,” a group official said.

South Korea’s biggest auto group has failed to reach its target sales for two consecutive years.

Hyundai Kia Motors’ global sales reached a combined 7.88 million units, down 1.7 percent on-year in 2016, company data showed.

The auto group, however, set its sales target for this year at 8.25 million units amid declining sales.

“2017 is a meaningful year, as it marks Hyundai Motor’s 50th anniversary. We will not remain complacent about today’s progress. We will strive to achieve quality rather than quantity growth this year to take off the auto sector for the next 50 years,” Chung said in a message sent to shareholders.

“It has been three years since Genesis was launched. We will deliver greater joy and pride by strengthening the brand’s lineup and expanding overseas, ultimately to foster it as a dream car,” Chung said.

Genesis is a luxury brand of Hyundai Motor.

By Kim Bo-gyung (lisakim425@heralcorp.com)