Shinhan Bank reshuffle leads to internal row

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Shinhan Bank reshuffle leads to internal row

The head of Shinhan Bank has expressed discontent with a recent reshuffle by the Shinhan Financial Group holding company.

In the latest leadership change, a new CEO will replace incumbent Wi Sung-ho three months before the end of his term. This deviates from the conventional practice of regular and predictable management changes.


Wi Sung-ho

“After the sudden announcement on Dec. 21, I got a lot of calls from acquaintances who said they couldn’t understand,” Wi said. “I also felt confused because it came out of thin air.”

Shinhan’s nomination committee recommended that Jin Ok-dong, vice president of Shinhan Financial Group, head Shinhan Bank.

Shinhan Financial Group noted Jin’s work overseas, but it refrained from stating the exact reasons why it refused Wi a second term.

Industry insiders suspect that Wi’s alleged involvement in a bribery case from 2008 may be relevant to the lack of a second-term offer.

A committee at the Ministry of Justice requested earlier this year that prosecutors look into an allegation that Ra Eung-Chan, former chairman of Shinhan Financial Group, bribed Lee Sang-deuk, the older brother of former President Lee Myung-bak.

The committee accused high-ranking figures at Shinhan, including Wi, of handling 300 million won ($266,559) of payments in the affair.

Wi said that the case would not have been a big factor in the recent reshuffle. He also said the transition to Jin would take some time because of the nominee’s lack of experience in the domestic banking business, a comment seen as a swipe at Jin.

“Nominee Jin Ok-dong doesn’t have any experience in the banking business at home in the recent 20 years. It will take a while to transfer my job,” Wi said.

Shinhan Bank is scheduled to hold a board meeting today to decide whether it will accept the recommendation by Shinhan’s nomination committee.

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