South Korea’s Fair Trade Commission will force structural reforms if the top four conglomerates Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK, and LG do not show “positive signs of change” by December, said its new head Kim Sang-jo.
“Each business group would be in a different condition, but should come up with some action by the first deadline in December when the National Assembly begins a bill review,” said Kim in a media interview on Friday.
Kim known as ‘chaebol sniper’ has called for voluntary efforts to reinvent the family-run business empires that have prospered under state grooming and indulgence. The four chaebols account for about a half of the assets owned by the top 30 business groups in Korea.
He singled out Hyundai Motor Group for remaining undecided over how to improve its corporate governance, which poses a big risk for its future business direction.
Samsung`s long-drawn leadership vacuum, with its de facto leader Jay Y. Lee being sentenced to five years in prison for bribery will likely affect non-Samsung Electronics companies more than the electronics unit Lee represents.
“Samsung disbanded its group control tower and hastily announced a plan to cancel Samsung Electronics’ treasury shares to promptly dismiss pending lawsuits. It was a wrong decision because it was not for strengthening its business but to minimize the risk on the controlling shareholder,” he said.
By Yoon Won-sup
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