Who will re­place KT Chair­man Hwang?

The Korea Times - - BUSINESS - By Jun Ji-hye [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

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.

Korea Times file

A pedes­trian walks past KT head­quar­ters in cen­tral Seoul in this file photo.

Hwang Chang-gyu KT chair­man

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