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Woori taps senior deputy chief to lead flagship bank

Woori Bank Senior Deputy President Lee Won-duk (Woori Financial Group)
Woori Bank Senior Deputy President Lee Won-duk (Woori Financial Group)
South Korea’s Woori Financial Group said Monday it has nominated Senior Deputy President Lee Won-duk to lead its flagship commercial bank.

The firm’s CEO recommendation committee last month had shortlisted three candidates for the position -- Lee, Park Hwa-jae, deputy president of Woori Bank‘s credit support unit and Jeon Sang-wook, deputy president of the bank’s risk management unit.

Lee was tapped due to his “broad understanding” of the group’s core businesses including strategy, finances and digital transformation, the committee said in a statement.

Lee’s nomination as Woori Bank CEO will be confirmed at the shareholders meeting scheduled next month.

Woori Bank’s current chief Kwon Kwang-seok will officially step down next month, wrapping up his two-year term.

The 60-year-old candidate first entered Woori Bank in 1990 and worked his way up the ladder. He led several key teams at Woori Financial Group including risk management and global strategy previous before becoming the senior deputy president in 2020.

Lee received both his bachelors’ degree in agriculture & resource economics and masters in economics from Seoul National University.

Lee is set to be the first chief of the bank after Woori Financial Group following Woori Financial Group’s privatization after 23 years. The policymaking Financial Services Commission said in November last year that Woori has become “technically fully privatized,” after greenlighting five investors in acquiring most of the remaining stake owned by the government. The Public Fund Oversight Committee under the FSC sold a combined 9.3 percent stake in Woori Financial of the 15.13 percent owned by the state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. to a total of five investors.

It was a 12.7 trillion-won ($10.5 billion) government bailout that saved Woori Financial Group, then known as Hanvit Bank, in 1998, when it was reeling from the financial crisis.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)
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