Who will replace KT Chairman Hwang?
KT’s plan to select a new chairman has gotten off the ground as it completed receiving applications from candidates outside the company, Monday.
Incumbent Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu’s term will expire in March next year.
The nation’s largest broadband service provider and second-largest mobile carrier said Tuesday that 30 external figures are in the running for the chairmanship, including 21 who submitted applications and nine who were recommended by professional organizations.
The firm’s committee, dedicated to examining the qualifications of candidates and narrowing the number, had been receiving applications for the past two weeks. It will not disclose the names of candidates to promote fairness.
The committee, composed of four outside directors and one inside director, has already selected seven candidates for the chairmanship among in-house figures through individual interviews.
The chairmanship at KT has frequently become an object of controversy as most former chairmen have been embroiled in diverse suspicions including bribery, embezzlement and collusive ties with political figures. The prosecution’s search and seizure on KT offices is now regarded as nothing new.
In a bid to resolve endemic problems involving its chairmen and to enhance transparency of the process to select a new leader, KT revised its articles of association in March, extending the two-stage process to four stages. The company also removed authorities of the board of directors to recommend candidates.
Under the revised articles of association, a final candidate is expected to be decided by the end of the year and officially appointed as a chairman at the general meeting of stockholders, scheduled for March next year.
“KT is doing its utmost to select an optimal figure for the chairmanship,” a KT official said.
Eyes are on whether an external figure or in-house figure will become a new leader of one of the major telecom companies amid rapidly changing market trends following the advent of fifth-generation networks and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.
After the company came under private management in 2002, in-house figures led the firm until the end of 2008.
Then, the company has had chairmen from outside the company since 2009 when Lee Suk-chae, who had served as the information and communication minister, assumed the chairmanship.
Lee’s successor, Hwang, also previously worked for Samsung Electronics before joining KT.
Industry officials are cautiously adding more weight to the possibility for an in-house figure to become a new chairman, citing Hwang’s remarks made during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
At the time, he said, “I hope a young and competent figure will take charge of the management of KT. I want the next chairman to be selected from among insiders.”
Among insiders, Lee Dong-myun, president of KT’s future platform business group, and Oh Seong-mok, president of the network division, are cited as leading candidates.
A pedestrian walks past KT headquarters in central Seoul in this file photo.
Hwang Chang-gyu KT chairman