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Business tycoons likely to miss FKI meeting

The buzz about the May 19 meeting of the Federation of Korean Industries’ executives has begun to fizzle as industry sources said chiefs of the nation’s top conglomerates are unlikely to attend.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo, SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won and Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo have all tentatively notified the FKI that they will not be attending the meeting.

FKI, the lobby group for larger South Korean companies, has more than 400 members, most of which are industrial groups.

The federation holds an executive meeting five times a year, in every odd-numbered month except July. Discussions on industry trends and issues take place at the meetings, and the attendance of the top corporate brass is considered to lend weight to the group’s influence.

Samsung Electronics said Lee, who is campaigning for Seoul’s hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics, would be in Switzerland next week for a briefing.

Hyundai Motor officials also said Chung would most likely be unable to attend, but declined to give a definite answer, saying there was “still some time left until the meeting.”

LG chief Koo, who has been keeping his distance from the FKI meetings for some time, also was unlikely to participate, company officials said.

The situation was the same for SK Group, which said its chairman had “other things on his schedule” he had to attend to.

The chairmen of Samsung, Hyundai Motor and SK previously attended a March meeting after GS Group Chairman Huh Chang-soo was elected as the head of the FKI.

The FKI said it had yet to receive official confirmation from the industrial groups on whether the chairmen would be making an appearance.

Business tycoons are elected to chair the FKI. Most of the heads of the nation’s top companies hold vice-chair positions.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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