Chief of Korea Exchange decides to step down

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Chief of Korea Exchange decides to step down

With Kim Bong-soo, chairman and chief executive of Korea Exchange, offering to step down, speculation is growing that heads of other public securities firms will follow suit.

Korea Exchange, the nation’s bourse operator, released a statement Sunday saying, “Kim expressed a desire to resign, judging that it is time for him to leave.”

Kim, a 60-year-old close associate of former President Lee Myung-bak, was considered the foremost public executive to be replaced under the Park Geun-hye government. Kim, who is a graduate of Korea University and former head of Kiwoom Securities, completed his three-year term in December and received a one-year extension as chief executive position.

According to industry sources, Kim told Financial Services Commission Chairman Shin Je-yoon recently that he wanted to resign and made it official last Friday during the board of directors meeting. Korea Exchange said that once Kim leaves, it will form a nominating committee to name a new chief, who needs to be approved during the shareholders’ meeting, nominated by the FSC chairman and appointed by the president.

Among those seen as possible candidates is Choi Kyung-soo, former head of Hyundai Securities. Choi is a former bureaucrat at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance and the Public Procurement Service. He ran for chairman of the Korea Financial Investment Association in January 2012 and lost to the current chairman, Park Jong-soo.

During the presidential election last year, Choi was an adviser on financial affairs to the Park’s campaign team.

According to financial sources, Kim’s resignation is expected to prompt similar moves at the Korea Securities Depository and the Korea Securities Computing Corporation, among others.

By Lee Eun-joo, Yoon Chang-hee [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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