Ruling party reaffirms resolve for conglomerate reform in wake of chaebol scion's assault

By Yonhap
  • Published : Nov 23, 2017 - 13:15
  • Updated : Nov 23, 2017 - 13:15

The ruling Democratic Party on Thursday reaffirmed its commitment to reforming family-run conglomerates and promoting fair market competition amid public uproar over an assault case involving a tycoon's son.

Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon, the party's policy chief, stressed the ruling bloc will strive to prevent any abuse of power by conglomerate owner families and will seek to improve corporate governance.

On Wednesday, prosecutors launched a probe into the allegations that Kim Dong-seon, a son of Hanwha Group Chairman Kim Seung-youn, assaulted lawyers while he was drunk at a private dinner two months ago. The case was the latest in a series of alleged misconduct by business owners and their families.

Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon (C), the policy chief of the ruling Democratic Party, speaks during a party meeting at the National Assembly in Seoul on Nov. 23, 2017. (Yonhap)

"The party and government will make continued efforts to push for the reform of chaebol, foster a fair economic ecosystem and promote a corporate culture in which (business leaders) practice noblesse oblige," Kim said during the party's key policy meeting. Chaebol are family run conglomerates.

Kim criticized the distorted ownership structure of major conglomerates, where managerial powers are concentrated in their owner families, as an underlying cause of many of their problems.

"Under the management led by emperor-like owners, their family members rise up the corporate ladder too quickly without proper verification of their capabilities and then come to the forefront of management," he said.

"And the big companies that take up a great portion of our economy have been defenselessly exposed to the risks stemming from their owners," he added.

Since the Moon Jae-in administration took office in May, it has been exploring ways to revamp the governance structure of major conglomerates under its policy platform of creating a fair, inclusive and transparent economy.