Finalist proposes delay

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Finalist proposes delay

One of the three short-listed candidates to become the next chairman of Shinhan Financial Group proposed yesterday to the nominating committee that the date of interviews scheduled for this afternoon be postponed to Dec. 22.

“There are three candidates, and it isn’t important to pick who is in a more favorable condition than the other [at this moment],” said Lee Dong-geol, former vice chairman of Shinhan Investment Corporation.

“Instead, what I’m hoping for is a nominating procedure that is clear [for all to understand] and carefully done.”

Lee is among three finalists for the job selected by the nominating committee last week. The other two are current Chairman Han Dong-woo, who is seeking a second term, and Hong Sung-kyun, former vice chairman of Shinhan Card.

During the third nominating committee meeting last Thursday, members chose today as the date for the interviews.

Two other candidates were selected by the nominating committee - Suh Jin-won, president of Shinhan Bank, and Lee Jae-woo, vice chairman of Shinhan Card - but they notified the committee they decided to withdraw from consideration.

“Considering that the shareholders meeting will be held March 23, there is still time, and the interview can be held Dec. 22 - three months in advance of the shareholders meeting,” Lee told reporters yesterday after submitting the proposal document to the committee at Shinhan Financial Group headquarters in Jung District, central Seoul. “The chairman position of Shinhan Financial Group holds heavy responsibility, and there is really no reason to be in a rush.”

Lee explained that while the nominating committee members, who are outside directors, have had enough time to get to know Han over the past few years, they hardly know the two other candidates.

The committee originally had six members, including Chairman Han who is an internal director, but he decided not to join the meetings.

“I would think the members would also want to better know what the candidates could do for Shinhan and what values and thoughts he has in mind,” Lee said.

Each candidate for the Shinhan Financial Group chairmanship will be given 30 minutes for the interview, which is “shorter than KB Financial Group’s 90 minutes,” according to Lee.

The comments made by Lee yesterday come amid growing controversy over fairness in the nominating process. There has been criticism raised in the industry that the overall procedure at Shinhan Financial Group to nominate a new chairman is being expedited so that Han can seek another term.

The current chairman’s term, which began in February 2011, will end March 23.

According to industry sources, Suh is considered to be a good leader who has the respect of employees for improving the overall situation at the financial group, which had been beset by internal disputes and power struggles before he was given a executive-level position.

BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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