Hanjin Group heiress Cho Hyun-ah and majority shareholders behind her in the proxy battle against her brother and current chair of Hanjin KAL demanded the holding parent of flag carrier Korean Air Lines leave eight seats for recommendations from shareholders after bumping up the total number of board head count to 12 to rein in management by a single leadership.
The coalition consisting of Hyun-ah, local private equity fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI, or No. 2 institutional shareholder) and mid-sized builder Bando Engineering & Construction (No. 4 shareholder) announced Thursday that it submitted recommendation of board members – three inside directors, four outside directors and one non-executive director – through its legal advisor Bae, Kim & Lee (BKL).
The list of the candidates for inside directors include former SK Group vice chairman Kim Shin-bae, former Samsung Electronics vice president Bae Kyung-tae and former Korea Air executive director Kim Chi-hoon.
(From left) Hanjin Group heiress Cho Hyun-ah, KCGI CEO Kang Sung-boo and Bando Engineering & Construction Co. Chairman Kwon Hong-sa.
The coalition is pitted against Won-tae who is up for reappointment as the board chairman and his director candidate at the shareholder meeting expected to be held on March 27.
Its plan is to secure two-thirds of the managing board by raising the seat number to 12. Currently, the board has two inside directors including Won-tae and Hanjin KAL CEO Seok Tae-soo and four independent directors. Among them, outside director Lee Suk-woo will finish his tenure in March.
The faceoff at the shareholders’ meeting is also closely watched by the market.
On Thursday, an unidentified investor bought 957,744 shares or 1.6 percent stake in Hanjin KAL. A local media speculated the purchase could have been made by one of the backers of the heiress. If it is true, the combined stake owned by her and her supporters would go up to 33.66 percent from the current 32.06, surpassing that of Won-tae and his parties at 33.45 percent. The latest vote however does not count in upcoming March meeting.
The news boosted shares of Hanjin KAL by 10.34 percent to close at 48,000 won ($40.6) on Thursday. As of 12:12 p.m. on Friday, they rose 0.63 percent to 48,300 won.
By Song Gwang-sup, Kang Woo-seok and Choi Mira
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]