The Korea Herald


Hana Financial chief, a year before retirement, seeks 4th term

By Park Han-na

Published : Feb. 16, 2021 - 17:45

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Hana Financial Group Chairman Kim Jung-tai (Yonhap) Hana Financial Group Chairman Kim Jung-tai (Yonhap)

The incumbent chairman of Hana Financial Group is seeking a fourth term, which would make him, if elected, the longest-serving chief of a financial institution in South Korean history.

Hana Financial Group on Monday evening confirmed the nomination of four candidates for the group’s top post, including Chairman Kim Jung-tai, who has been at the helm of the group since 2012.

Kim publicly said last year that he wouldn’t be reluctant to give up the chairmanship. But Kim being shortlisted again for the group’s leadership seems to reflect the organization’s dire attempt to stabilize its operations at a time when it has no viable alternative candidate, according to watchers. Even if Kim wins approval for his fourth term, the 69-year-old top banker can stay in the office for just one more year, not three years, as the age limit for the position is 70 under group bylaws.

The four candidates officially shortlisted for the position by the firm’s recommendation committee among 14 people include three executives from the group and its affiliate -- Hana Financial Group Vice Chairman Ham Young-joo, Hana Bank Vice President Park Sung-ho and the current chairman, whose term ends in March. Park Jin-hei, former Citibank Korea president, is the sole external candidate.

“The shortlist was confirmed in a fair, transparent manner in accordance with the management succession plan and candidate recommendation process. Candidates who can facilitate the stabilization of the organization of Hana Financial Group were included in the selection,” said Yoon Seong-bok, who heads the recommendation committee.

The reference to stabilization of the organization comes amid concerns over legal and compliance risks that some candidates have been exposed to.

Lee Jin-guk, the head of Hana Financial Investment and the vice chairman of Hana Financial Group, who was deemed a leading candidate, failed to make the list after the Financial Supervisory Service requested that the prosecution investigate him for violating the Capital Market Act, after accusations of prior trading.

Hana Financial Group Vice Chairman Ham is also facing legal battles amid allegations of hiring irregularities and improper selling of derivatives-linked products.

The committee is to select a final candidate by the end of this month, and will seek final approval at the group’s shareholders meeting set for March.

By Park Han-na (