The Korea Herald


New Shinhan chairman wins shareholder approval

By Park Han-na

Published : March 23, 2023 - 15:45

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Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Jin Ok-dong (Shinhan Financial Group) Shinhan Financial Group Chairman Jin Ok-dong (Shinhan Financial Group)

Shareholders of Shinhan Financial Group on Thursday approved the appointment of Jin Ok-dong, its flagship banking unit’s former CEO, as the group’s new chairman.

“I feel a great sense of responsibility to meet the expectations of customers and shareholders and lead the growth of Shinhan,” Jin said in his address at the general shareholders’ meeting held at the group’s headquarters in Seoul.

Having worked in Japan for almost 20 years, the new Shinhan chief is considered a seasoned overseas business expert within Shinhan Financial Group. Despite resistance from some shareholders, including the state-run National Pension Service -- the group’s largest shareholder -- his appointment reflects the considerable trust he has built among Korean-Japanese shareholders, industry watchers say.

Japanese shareholders exert a great influence over the group, as they hold more than 10 percent of shares, and four of the 12 outside directors are Korean-Japanese. Shinhan Financial was founded in July 1982 as Shinhan Bank, with solely Korean-Japanese shareholders.

While serving as CEO of Shinhan Bank for the past four years, Jin has solidified the lender’s position as a leading bank. Shinhan Bank's cumulative net profit for the third quarter increased by 21.7 percent to a record 2.59 trillion won ($2 billion), the highest figure among its local rivals.

In addition to the firm's stellar performance, Jin earned recognition for his excellent crisis management capabilities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the NPS, however, opposed his appointment, citing disciplinary measures he faced for mishandling the now-defunct Lime Asset Management hedge fund worth $1.4 billion in 2021.

After joining Shinhan Bank in 1986, Jin spent nearly 20 years at the group’s Japanese units including the lender’s Osaka branch. Jin served as the president of SH Capital in Japan in 2011, then as vice president of SBJ Bank in 2014 and became head of SBJ Bank the following year. Jin was credited with leading SBJ Bank grow rapidly by targeting the local retail finance market.

The new chairman began his three-year term immediately Thursday.