The Korea Herald


SK affiliates to boost expertise, inclusivity of boards

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : March 21, 2023 - 15:21

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SK Group Chariman Chey Tae-won gives a lecture at the conglomerate's annual directors' summit in Seoul in October last year. (SK Group) SK Group Chariman Chey Tae-won gives a lecture at the conglomerate's annual directors' summit in Seoul in October last year. (SK Group)

South Korea’s SK Group is bolstering the expertise and inclusivity of board directors across its affiliates by adding more females and current and former top executives to the boardroom as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance more responsible management.

Ahead of their shareholders’ meetings later this month, the group said Tuesday its 12 key affiliates, including SK Inc., SK hynix, SK Telecom and SK Innovation, have nominated final candidates for outside directors.

Of the 12 new candidates, seven are women and seven were in executive positions. If all of them are elected as new board members during the meetings, the accumulated number of female members in both internal and outside boards will increase to 19, up 7 percent on-year to 21 percent.

The number of outsider directors, who are either former or incumbent CEOs, will also increase to 14, up 10 percentage points from last year. They will likely make up 25 percent of the board at SK, the group said.

The proportion of outside directors of 12 SK-listed firms will also increase after the March shareholder meetings. There will be a total of 56 independent directors this year with a proportion of 63 percent, compared with last year’s 60 percent. On the other hand, the number of executive directors will be reduced to 22, down from last year’s 25 percent to 22 percent.

“The board of directors of SK’s major affiliates will further enhance expertise, diversity and independence after completing shareholder meetings by the end of this month,” an SK Group official said.

SK Group has strived to build transparent corporate governance based on responsible management led by the board of directors. In 2021, the group’s chairman Chey Tae-won outlined a new vision and tasks for the conglomerate under a strategy titled “Governance Story.”

“The key to innovative governance strategy is to elicit long-term trust by proving governance transparency to the market,” Chey said, adding that the group’s goal was to achieve world-class governance from environmental, social and governance-centered perspectives.

In line with “Governance Story,” the group’s board members have been responsible for evaluating the achievements of SK affiliates’ CEOs to determine their reappointment and selecting CEO candidates, as well as supervising the performance of executive management through the group’s independent audit committee.

“SK Group will continue to expand management support infrastructure, centering on the board of directors, and actively support it to become the highest practical decision-making body beyond the function of monitoring and checking management,” an SK official said.