Shinhan Bank appoints Jin as CEO

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Shinhan Bank appoints Jin as CEO


Shinhan Bank’s new head Jin Ok-dong speaks to reporters at his inauguration event held at the firm’s headquarters in central Seoul on Tuesday. [YONHAP]

Shinhan Bank, the country’s largest bank by net profit, appointed a new CEO Tuesday amid strong competition from internet-only banks and start-ups.

Jin Ok-dong, the new head, vowed to shift the bank’s recruitment process starting this year in a drive to bolster digitalization.

“To become a truly digital-focused company, we need to change the way we hire employees,” Jin told reporters after his inauguration.

“Until now, we largely selected candidates majoring in business and economics and trained them about technology,” he said. “But from now on, we will focus on recruiting graduates with majors related to IT and dispatch them to our branches.”

In Tuesday’s address, the new CEO also pledged to expand investments in digitalization and in infrastructure required for mobile and online banking. He declined to detail the total size of the commitment.

On top of digital efforts, Jin also cited overseas business as a major focus. Banks face market saturation and limited demand in Korea.

The global business strategy, he said, will be two-pronged. One element will be a push into emerging markets and the other will be a drive into established markets.

“We will solidify our standing in Vietnam, as Shinhan has seen great results there,” he said.

Vietnam is considered a primary overseas market where the bank has generated good results. Last year, the Vietnamese unit reported $72 million in net profit.

Advanced economies, like Japan and the United States, also are target markets as their currencies could provide liquidity during times of uncertainties. Jin himself has a career focused on overseas business. He spent 18 years at Shinhan’s Japanese branch.

The nomination committee from Shinhan Financial Group, Shinhan Bank’s parent, last December recommended Jin, then a vice president at the group, to head the bank, replacing Wi Sung-ho.

The new chief is taking the helm of an institution in good shape

Shinhan Financial Group reclaimed the top spot as the best-performing financial firm in 2018, backed by healthy profits from its overseas business and the relatively poor performance of archrival KB Financial Group.

Born in 1961, Jin graduated from Korea National Open University with a major in business and went on to earn a master’s degree at Chung-Ang University in business.

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