Court Verdict Retains Woori Chairman Sohn’s Reelection Bid
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Court Verdict Retains Woori Chairman Sohn’s Reelection Bid
Woori Financial Group carries out Energy Lunch Box Project for medical staff in Daegu stricken by COVID-19

24(Tue), Mar, 2020

Chairman Sohn Tae-seung of the Woori Financial Group.

The Seoul Administrative Court’s ruling in favor of Woori Chairman Sohn Tae-sung has eliminated a big stumbling block standing in the way for his bid to be reelected for his second term during an upcoming regular shareholders' meeting.

The court accepted Sohn’s application for a provisional disposition on the suspension of the enforcement of a disciplinary action by the Financial Supervisory Service.

Accordingly, Chairman Sohn will be able to be reelected at the regular general shareholders’meeting to be held on March 25.

Previously, chairman Sohn had to give up making an attempt for another term unless the court accept the application as a warning for a reprimand, which Sohn received from the FSS. It went into force March 6.

A warning for a reprimand is a severe penalty to ban a person’s employment in the financial sector for three years. Accordingly, Chairman Sohn is expected to succeed in extending his term unless there something unusual occurs at the regular general shareholders’ meeting.

Earlier, ISS, the world’s largest voting rights advisory agency, recommended opposition to the reelection of Chairman Sohn. But a dominant view among financial industry experts is that the Woori Financial Group will not be affected by the recommendation as the proportion of foreign investors affected by voting rights advisory agencies stands at 30 percent only.

The Woori Financial Group announced on March 12 that the group’s top executives such as Chairman Sohn Tae-seung bought a total of 1,782 shares of Woori Financial Group treasury stocks in the stock market. Chairman Son also purchased 5,000 shares as president of Woori Bank so held a total of 73,127 treasury shares.

Although the US. Federal Reserve Board held an emergency meeting and lowered the benchmark interest rate amid the recent spread of the novel coronavirus all over the world, the volatility of the global stock market is expanding, and domestic stock prices are remaining low.

Stock market watchers say that the stock market will not be able to avoid strong volatility for the time being due to the global spread of the COVID-19 fiasco. This brings more attention to Woori Financial Group’s executives’ participation in a move to buy the group’s treasury shares.

On the other hand, the Woori Financial Group laid the foundation for future growth by solidifying the group system in the first year of its establishment through successful non-bank M&As in addition to achieving record-high performances despite difficult internal and external conditions such as the continued trade dispute between the United States and China and lower interest rates.

Moreover, in 2019, the dividend was set at the highest level of 700 won per share, an increase of 50 won over the previous year. This was the result of the group’s strengthened shareholder-friendly policy of returning profits to shareholders.

In the meantime, the Woori Financial Group will participate in a race to take over Prudential Life by brokering acquisition finance for the private equity fund IMM Private Equity which will compete with other companies in the acquisition of the life insurer. “We are discussing specific conditions of the acquisition finance with IMM Private Equity,” the official said.

Woori Financial Group will arrange acquisition finance, but has not yet decided whether or not it will directly invest in the acquisition of Prudential Life Insurance through the formation of a consortium.

Woori Financial Group officials offer free lunches to medical staff with Keimyung University Daegu Dongsan Hospital who combat with the spread of COVID-19 at the Daegu-Gyeongsangbuk-do area, the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus outbreak. (Photos: Woori Financial Group)

The Woori Financial Group contributed 200 million won to the Daegu branch of the Korean Red Cross for medical staff who are battling novel coronavirus infections in hospitals in Daegu, the hardest hit area in Korea in March. On top of that, the group carried out the Energy Lunch Box Project since March 9.

The Energy Lunch Box Project has delivered healthy lunch boxes to medical staffs who have been tired from overtime or overnight work in hospitals in Daegu for over one month.

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