January 19, 2019

FTC chief ups pressure on Samsung heir

PUBLISHED : May 10, 2018 - 16:49

UPDATED : May 10, 2018 - 16:49

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[THE INVESTOR] Kim Sang-jo, head of the Korea Fair Trade Commission, on May 10 called on Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, de facto leader of Samsung Group, to play a leading role in carrying out governance reform plans at the nation’s largest conglomerate.

“There may be several ways (for reforms at Samsung) but the government cannot and should not enforce a specific way. However, one thing clear is that the current way is not sustainable,” he told reporters after a meeting with heads of the nation’s top 10 business groups.

“The final decision is in the hands of Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong,” Kim added, upping pressure on the Samsung heir. “A belated decision will cause huge costs both for Samsung and the entire Korean economy. The worst decision is spending time without making any decision.”

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-geun (left) and FTC chief Kim Sang-jo

He said he delivered his opinion to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Yoon Boo-geun, one of the attendees during the meeting, and the Samsung executive responded he would look into it.

The FTC chief, who is nicknamed “Chaebol Sniper,” admitted that his reform drive is being criticized both from conservative and liberal sides.

“To make a balance, I’ll fine-tune the pace to carry out steady reforms in the next three to five years,” he said.

“Business leaders also agreed on the necessity for change but they showed concerns about applying the same regulations to different situations. So I stressed their own voluntary changes and efforts.”

By Park Ga-young (

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