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Samsung’s semiconductor chief tops paycheck list in H1

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun rose to become the top earner among chief executive officers and owners of South Korea’s major conglomerates in the first half of this year, regulatory filings to the Financial Supervisory Service showed.

Kwon, who is currently leading Samsung’s most lucrative device solutions division in charge of the world’s biggest chipmaking business, received a total of 13.98 billion won ($12.3 million) including massive incentives for the first six months of this year, according to a financial report by Samsung released Monday.
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun (left) speaks during the company’s shareholder meeting in March. (Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun (left) speaks during the company’s shareholder meeting in March. (Yonhap)

His total income surged nearly five times from 2.9 billion won in the same period last year, due to the largest-ever operating profit of the semiconductor business in the first half.

Kwon was paid 937 million won in monthly wages for six months. He also received about 8 billion won in special incentive and 5 billion won in regular incentive during the period.

He was named the top earner in 2015 and 2016 for two consecutive years among Samsung’s top executives and is expected to keep the top spot this year as well, according to market forecasts.

Kwon not only outstripped Samsung affiliate owners as a hired management specialist, but also other owners of family-run conglomerates in terms of their six-month salaries.

Samsung’s heir apparent Lee Jae-yong took a total of 847 million won during the six months.

Lee, who has been detained since February due to bribery charges, received 318 million won of income for the first two months, according to a Samsung official.

The remaining 529 million won was an incentive for his efforts to complete the acquisition of US vehicle electronics provider Harman International, according to the company’s report to the FSS.

Yoon Boo-keun, head of Samsung’s consumer electronics division, earned a total of 2.06 billion won, while Shin Jong-kyun, chief of the mobile business, received 5.05 billion won, the report showed.

Suh Kyung-bae, chairman of Korea’s biggest cosmetics maker Amorepacific, came in second with 9.64 billion won, including about 2.78 billion won in incentives. Suh’s income skyrocketed by more than 11 times compared to last year, despite a decline in the company’s performance due to China’s boycott of Korean products as a result of diplomatic tensions sparked by the deployment of the US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system on the Korean Peninsula.

“The incentive payment reflected the executive’s performances for the past three years, not just for this year,” a report by the company said.

LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo also drew attention as he received 4.3 billion won in total, including 2.3 billion won in incentives.

“Amid persisting uncertainties in the global environment, the group maintained steady growth last year,” the group said in the regulatory filing. “Considering the achievement and his contribution to new future businesses, the chairman was given 2.3 billion won worth incentives.”

Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho and Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-koo followed the LG chairman with 4.12 billion won and 4.01 billion won, respectively.

The owner of Hyundai Motor took about 200 million won less than the same period last year. Hyundai Motor Group Vice Chairman and heir apparent Chung Eui-sun received 624 million won, also 37 million won less from a year earlier.

Top management officials of the automaker volunteered to slash their wages due to the company’s sluggish performances since late last year, according to a group official.

By Song Su-hyun (