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Shinhan’s new leaders are a little bit younger

Dec 24,2018
From left: Jin Ok-dong, Lim Young-jin, Kim Byung-chul, Lee Chang-goo, Heo Young-taeg
The latest leaders of Shinhan Financial Group will likely have an average age of just 57, down from the previous 60.

A large-scale reshuffle that seeks to replace the majority of the bank’s leadership instead of reappointing them comes as the group is beset by an ongoing investigation into a hiring scandal and an earnings gap with its rival KB Financial Group.

Shinhan’s nomination committee recommended Jin Ok-dong, the vice president of Shinhan Financial Group, to head the group’s flagship unit Shinhan Bank, replacing Wi Sung-ho.

“Nominee Jin Ok-dong has built a strong trust within the group through his own gentle leadership,” Shinhan Financial Group said in a statement late Friday.

Jin’s performance working for Shinhan’s overseas business also contributed to his selection.

“The great achievement he made as the head of an overseas unit proves that he is qualified to lead the group’s largest affiliate Shinhan Bank,” it said.

The appointment came earlier than expected, since Wi’s first term was expected to end in March.

Industry insiders believe the early announcement is linked with the prosecution’s probe into the outgoing CEO Wi.

The Korea Finance Consumer Association, a consumer advocacy group, filed a lawsuit against Wi on charges of perjury and subornation of perjury last year.

The group claimed Wi falsely testified during a now-infamous internal dispute at Shinhan Financial Group in 2010. Shinhan Bank filed embezzlement charges against Shin Sang-hoon, then the president of Shinhan Financial Group. Many believed this served as a way for Ra Eung-chan, the chairman of Shinhan Financial Group, to oust Shin from the group. Wi was seen as a close aide to Ra.

The charge poses a serious risk to Shinhan, especially at a time when the group’s chairman Cho Yong-byoung is under investigation for alleged unfair hiring between 2015 and 2017.

The committee opted to keep Lim Young-jin as CEO of Shinhan Card, crediting him with smoothly navigating unfavorable market conditions, including lower card commission fees.

Shinhan Life Insurance will also see a new leader, Cheong Mun-kuk, who currently serves as CEO of the group’s insurance affiliate Orange Life Insurance.

Shinhan Financial Group acquired Orange Life Insurance, the former Korean unit of ING Life Insurance, earlier this year for 2.29 trillion won ($2.03 billion) to bolster non-banking business.

Kim Byung-chul, vice president of Shinhan Investment, was appointed to head the group’s securities affiliate. Lee Chang-goo, vice president at Shinhan Bank, was selected as CEO of Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management.

Heo Young-taeg, vice president at Shinhan Bank, will become CEO of Shinhan Capital, the group’s consumer finance unit.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]


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