The Korea Herald


KT's CEO pick resigns under political pressure

By Jie Ye-eun

Published : March 27, 2023 - 15:11

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KT Corp.'s CEO nominee, Yun Kyung-lim (KT Corp.) KT Corp.'s CEO nominee, Yun Kyung-lim (KT Corp.)

South Korea's telecom giant, KT Corp., said Monday that its CEO nominee has decided to resign, four days ahead of the company’s shareholders’ meeting that was set to take a vote on the new chief.

KT's group transformation division head, Yun Kyung-lim, indicated his intention to give up the company leadership to the board of directors. The decision came as he believed it would be best for a new CEO to be elected through the firm’s government improvements, which exceed key stakeholders’ expectations, KT officials said.

Earlier this month, KT’s board of directors unanimously chose Yun as the final candidate to take the company's top spot. The board gave a positive evaluation of him based on his expertise in digital transformation.

Before Yun’s official withdrawal, the CEO nominee reportedly conveyed his willingness to resign to the company’s board of directors last week amid the intensifying pressure from the government and the ruling People Power Party.

The board members had reportedly tried to convince Yun to stay on to “show a responsible face,” but he failed to withstand the external pressure that raised voices over improving corporate governance in companies with decentralized ownership.

Following the sudden change, the company is facing a leadership vacuum. Later in the day, the company said in a regulatory filing that it decided to exclude the CEO appointment agenda from the upcoming regular general meeting of shareholders.

Earlier this year, the company’s current CEO, Ku Hyeon-mo, gave up seeking a second term after the National Pension Service, the largest shareholder, voiced opposition to KT’s decision to endorse him as the sole candidate for CEO.

Then, KT carried out another round of the CEO nomination process and designated Yun as the final candidate. Upon Yun’s request, KT set up a task force earlier this month to enhance corporate governance.