Fair Trade Commission Chairman Kim Sang-jo gave mixed reviews about the shareholders` meetings of Samsung and Hyundai Motor Group. While Kim still gave a poor evaluation of Samsung, he noted that meaningful improvements were made for Hyundai in terms of outside directors' openness and independence.
On the issue of Samsung`s shareholders` meeting on March 15, Kim said, "I understand but I feel sorry for it." Samsung had to be more aggressive in this regard, as conglomerates such as SK, Shinsegae, POSCO, CJ, and Hyundai Motor Group followed the global standard on electronic voting, protecting shareholders' rights, independence of outside directors and corporate governance.
Chairman Kim's comments on Samsung are interpreted as the reason why some outside directors, which Samsung Electronics put on the agenda of its shareholders' general meeting, are not free from controversy over independence and Samsung did not introduce an electronic voting system.
Samsung Electronics has made a proposal to re-elect former Strategy and Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan as outside director, and to appoint Kim Han-jo, former vice chairman of Hana Financial Group, and Ahn Gyu-ri, professor of medical school at Seoul National University as new director, as its main agenda. Among them, however, some pointed out that Park and Ahn lack independence.
Park has served as an outside director of Samsung Electronics since 2016 and has been a professor at Sungkyunkwan University since 1996. According to data from public corporations belonging to large conglomerates, Sungkyunkwan University and Sungkyunkwan University's Industrial-Academic Cooperation Corps are classified as Samsung Group's public utility corporations.
Prof. Ahn cannot avoid criticism that it is difficult to perform his independent duties as an outside director as he get paid other than compensation from Samsung Electronics' special-related corporation, Hoam Foundation.