Ex-Woori Bank boss tapped to be chief of Korea Eximbank

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Ex-Woori Bank boss tapped to be chief of Korea Eximbank

Former Woori Bank President Lee Duk-hoon has been nominated by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance to head the state-run financial company Export-Import Bank of Korea, also known as Korea Eximbank.

If Lee’s nomination is accepted by the Blue House, he would be the first president of the bank in more than two decades who is not from the former Ministry of Finance (MOF), also commonly referred to as the Mofia, a combination of the ministry’s name and mafia.

The Mofia is infamous for its tight connections and revolving-door appointments.

The last time a nongovernment official headed the bank was in 1993. Then, banker Lee Kwang-soo served as the president of Eximbank for two years before retiring.

The nine presidents that followed, including Kim Yong-hwan, whose term ended last month, were all former government officials who hailed from the MOF.

Since Kim’s departure, the top position has remained vacant.

Lee, 65, started his career as a researcher by joining the state-run think tank Korea Development Institute in 1981 after earning his doctorate in economics at Purdue University’s Graduate School and worked with various government institutions and organizations, including as an adviser to the minister of finance.

He then committed to the financial industry when he became the CEO of Daehan Investment Trust in 2000 and later as CEO of Hanvit Bank in 2001.

He also served as the president of Woori Bank after it merged with Hanvit in 2002 through 2004.

Lee is a graduate of the same alma mater as President Park Geun-hye.

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