Woori Financial nominates one for bank CEO

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Woori Financial nominates one for bank CEO

A Woori Financial Group committee chose Kwon Kwang-seok, head of the Korea Federation of Community Credit Cooperative’s (KFCC) credit business unit, as the sole candidate for the position of CEO at Woori Bank on Tuesday.

Kwon was selected from a shortlist of three candidates, which included Kim Jeong-ki, head of Woori Bank’s sales support and human resources division, and Lee Dong-yeon, head of Woori FIS, a financial technology solution unit.

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Kwon Kwang-seok

“Candidate Kwon is expected to create a synergy effect as the bank unit’s new CEO in the first year where the chairman of Woori Financial Group and the bank unit’s CEO posts are separated,” the committee said in a statement Tuesday. Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn Tae-seung has been serving as bank CEO.

Kwon entered Woori Bank in 1988 and served as the head of the bank’s Investment Banking Business Group since 2017. After serving briefly as the CEO of Woori PE, a private equity unit, Kwon was appointed as the head of credit business at KFCC.

The 57-year-old Kwon was seen as the right candidate to drive Woori Bank’s global strategy based on his experience at investment bank and global IR units.

The selection came amid a fierce battle between Woori Financial Group and the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS). The FSS sanctioned Woori Financial Group Chairman Sohn for misselling derivative-linked funds. The reprimand prohibits him from serving an additional term as chairman.

Woori Financial Group had initially planned to finalize its choice for Woori Bank CEO last month, but couldn’t reach a conclusion. An additional meeting scheduled for Jan. 31 was again delayed due to the FSS’s decision to sanction Sohn, which occurred a day before the meeting.

If Sohn resigned as chairman of the holding company due to the reprimand, the candidate selection may have been delayed even longer because a new chairman for the holding company would have to be selected first ahead of the appointment of the bank unit’s CEO.

With the Woori Financial Group’s board deciding to support Sohn’s term extension, the bank CEO appointment process continued.

Woori Financial Group is waiting for the Financial Services Commission’s confirmation of the sanction, which could come early next month.

Sohn’s reappointment will be confirmed at the shareholder meeting on March 24, and Kwon’s term will begin that day.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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