Kim Choong-soo named BOK head

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Kim Choong-soo named BOK head


Kim Choong-soo

President Lee Myung-bak yesterday selected Kim Choong-soo, Korea’s ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as the next Bank of Korea governor. His term will begin next month.

“Kim, who has worked in academia and the government, has wide insight and expertise on the Korean economy,” said Park Sun-kyoo, presidential spokesman. “In addition, he, as an OECD ambassador, has international experiences and views.”

The current chief of the central bank, Lee Seong-tae, will complete his four-year term on March 31. Lee was appointed during the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

A native of Seoul, Kim, 62, graduated from Seoul National University in 1973 and obtained a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1979.

“Korea is the chair nation of the Group of 20 Summit, and the new governor of the Bank of Korea will host the G-20 central bank governors’ meeting and lead the formation of the agenda of global financial reform,” said Park. “Taking into account this grave responsibility, we believe Kim is the best person to perform the role.”

The Blue House also said President Lee is deeply interested in the new task of the nation’s central bank. “Lee is very much concerned about the independence and neutrality of the Bank of Korea,” said Park. “To this end, the candidates who have ties with the finance ministry were ruled out during the selection process.”

The Ivy League-educated economist was the first senior secretary for economic affairs for President Lee, but he had to step down only after four months in 2008 in the aftermath of anti-government protests over U.S. beef imports. After leaving the Blue House, Kim was named as Korea’s ambassador to the OECD.

Kim’s tie with the OECD goes back years. As Korea applied for a membership in the OECD, he was appointed by the Kim Young-sam administration as the minister and head of the OECD Office in the Korean Embassy in Paris. He was in charge of negotiations with the international organization. Korea joined the OECD in 1996.

Before joining the Lee Blue House, Kim served as the president of Hallym University. He also served as the head of the Korea Institute of Public Finance from 1997 to 1998.

During the Roh administration, Kim headed the state-run Korea Development Institute, where he had started his career as a researcher.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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발언으로 본 과제와 전망

차기 한국은행 총재로 내정된 김중수(63) 주경제협력개발기구(OECD) 대사는 17일 프랑스 파리의 대사 집무실에서 특파원들과 만나 “중앙은행으로서의 권위를 세우는 데 주력하겠다”고 말했다. 이어 그는 “(내가) 대통령과 가까운 사이이기 때문에 한은의 독립성을 지키기 어려울 것이라는 주장에 동의할 수 없다”고 덧붙였다.

이번 총재 인선에는 세 가지 조건이 적용된 것으로 알려졌다. 국제화 마인드, 정부 및 시장과의 소통 능력, 개혁 의지가 그것이다. 결과론적으로 본다면 그중에서도 첫째 요건이 상대적으로 중시된 셈이다. 올해는 주요 20개국(G20) 정상회의가 한국에서 열리는 해이므로 국제감각과 영어 구사력이 큰 변수가 됐다는 얘기다. 여기에 정부에 얼마나 협조적인지도 중요한 고려 대상이 됐다. 김 대사는 국책연구기관장, 청와대 경제수석과 같은 요직을 거치면서 정책 조율 능력을 쌓았다. 그는 지난 12일 “한은도 정부”라고 말한 적이 있다.

그에게 주어진 과제는 만만찮다. 중앙은행은 물가 안정을 통해 국민의 재산을 지키는 최후의 보루다. 장민 금융연구원 거시경제연구실장은 “한은 총재는 정부나 정치권의 외풍을 막아내면서 중앙은행의 목표인 물가 안정을 중시하는 정책을 한결같이 펼치는 게 중요하다”고 말했다.

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