Let the private sector lead

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Let the private sector lead

Selecting the chief executive officer of state-controlled financial groups such as Woori Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea is producing ever increasing amounts of noise.
There is a lot of backbiting going on regarding the appointment of the next head of Hynix Semiconductor, where creditors are the biggest shareholders.
Rumors abound over which post will be taken by whom.
Chief executives, in fact, are selected through a public recruitment process, but not many believe that the system operates fairly. The original goal of the system to eliminate favouritism and promote transparency in the selection process faded away long ago. Some argue companies should go back to the previous system by which the government chooses leaders.
The operation of the public recruitment system for high posts is crippled by politicians’ power games and civil servants’ desires to win those posts.
Politicians push candidates with whom they share a political stance, while civil servants try to seat their colleagues who are scheduled to retire.
A survey showed that out of 27 high-ranking positions in state-run companies, 22 belong to former politicians and government officials.
The corporate leaders, once taking up the posts, tend to focus on observing how the wind blows and giving out privileges to employees to placate labor unions. State-controlled firms usually have higher salaries and less work whenever their top managers change.
Hiring a non-governmental workforce with expertise as civil servants through an open recruiting process is also titular.
Out of 233 posts made over the past four years, civilians with no ties to the government filled only 43. Others were all civil servants from other divisions or ministries.
The government claims civil servants were recruited because they had excellent capabilities. But the perception that public servants are more competent than civilians is outdated.
The government should consider the fact that Samsung Electronics’ credit rating is two levels higher than that of the national credit rating.
The present public recruiting process is a waste of national power.
Changing this requires privatization of public firms except for some that truly need government support.
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