Banking groups rush to attract women as outside directors

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By Yi Whan-woo

Major financial groups are recruiting more women as outside directors ahead of their annual shareholders’ meeting later this month, in line with the financial regulator’s demand to bolster gender equality in corporate management.

According to industry sources, Sunday, KB Financial Groups recommended a woman researcher from the Korea Institute of Finance to replace one of its outgoing outside directors, also a woman.

The recommendation was to keep a balanced gender ratio for the outside directors under guidelines given by the Financial Supervisory Service.

The watchdog wants the ratio of women to be between 30 percent to 50 percent, as observed by the global investment banks.

Three out of seven KB Financial Group’s outside directors have been female, accounting for 42.9 percent.

Shinhan Financial Group plans to increase the number of women outside directors from two to three. If realized, they will make up 33.3 percent of nine outside directors in total, up from 22.2 percent.

Of smaller banking groups, Hana and Woori each want a woman to fill in an additional seat to be set up for outside directors.

Correspondingly, the number of women outside directors will increase from one to two at Hana, accounting for 22.2 percent of the company’s nine outside directors, up from eight.

The number of women outside directors at Woori will also increase from one to two. They will make up a total of seven outside directors, up from six.

“Financial authorities find more participation from women crucial for the advancement of corporate governance, and the financial groups are taking actions in a corresponding manner,” a source said.

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