KB labor union makes second attempt to propose director

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KB labor union makes second attempt to propose director

KB Financial Group’s labor union continued its battle to push through the nomination of a union-nominated outside director, this time proposing a business professor.

Union members proposed Kwon Soon-won, a business professor at Sookmyung Women’s University, as their pick for the board following an aborted effort to nominate an activist lawyer to the board in November.

The majority of stakeholders at the time rejected the idea, while U.S.-based Institutional Shareholder Services, a global proxy advisory firm, also advised shareholders to vote against the nomination.

The next shareholders’ meeting is set for March where the stakeholders will vote on the agenda.

In the November meeting, the union recommended Ha Seung-soo, an activist lawyer, as a non-executive director.

Despite the objection from the majority of shareholders, the National Pension Service, which is the largest stakeholder, endorsed the proposal.

Kwon graduated from Seoul National University with major in sociology and went on to earn a Ph.D. at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

KB’s labor union will also propose that the chairman of KB Financial Group be excluded from a four member committee to select new outside directors since the chairman, Yoon Jong-kyoo, will likely sway other committee members.

Choi Jong-ku, chief of the country’s financial regulator, called for a cautious approach, saying that a consensus between the management and unions needed to come first.

“It depends on each company as to whether they adopt a director recommended by the labor union,” said the chairman.

“And it is too early to legalize the appointment of union-nominated directors,” he said on Monday.

The unions at Shinhan Bank and Woori Bank said that they will put the issue of union-selected directors on the agenda in shareholders’ meetings in March.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]
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