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Conglomerate executives required to disclose paychecks
MARCH 27, 2014 02:02  
Korea`s major conglomerates are submitting business reports to the Financial Supervisory Service after ending shareholders meetings, and the annual salaries of registered executives are being disclosed. After its revision in November last year, the capital market law mandates some 2,050 companies, including listed corporations and corporations object to external audit, to insert in their business reports the compensation of registered executives who receive an annual income of more than 500 million won (464,986 U.S. dollars).

Among Samsung Group affiliates, Samsung Everland was the first whose executive annual salary was disclosed. Samsung Everland CEO Kim Bong-young received 1.87 billion won (1.73 million dollars) last year, including 672 million won (624,942 dollars) in salary, 310 million won (288,292 dollars) in bonus and miscellaneous earned income. Executive Vice President Jeon Tae-heung was paid 730 million won (728,169 dollars). At LG Group, LG Display CEO Han Sang-bum`s annual income, valued at 1.15 billion won (1.2 million dollars), was the first to be disclosed.

Among conglomerate heads, GS Group Chairman Huh Chang-soo was found to have been paid 1.73 billion won (1.6 million dollars) as president of GS Construction. His brother and Vice Chairman Huh Myung-soo (CEO of GS Construction) got 635 million won (497,536 dollars). Bokwang Group Chairman Hong Seok-kyu, who is brother of Joongang Ilbo and JTBC Chairman Hong Seok-hyun, received 1.12 billion won (1.04 million dollars) from affiliate STS Semiconductor & Communications. Handok Chairman Kim Young-jin received 549 million won (510,555 dollars), and Halla Visteon Climate Control Corp. CEO Park Yong-hwan got 1.23 billion won (1.14 million dollars).

Income of registered executives who are paid over 500 million won (464,986 dollars) will likely be disclosed around next Monday, the deadline of business report submission. A source from one large company said, "Many companies will likely make disclosure at submission deadline date since early disclosure will only attract media attention."

Companies that are disclosing executive annual compensation for the first time are paying sharp attention on media reports. One conglomerate source said, "Our compensation is sharply smaller compared to our global rival companies, and yet disclosing it is a burden." Another source at a large company said, "We will get criticism of promoting disharmony if we are found to be paying more than rival companies, and our status could appear weak if we are found to be paying too little."

Some conglomerates that suffered due to heads having been put into jail last year are feeling burden, too. Though the chairmen were vacant from post, they were still registered and paid, which could draw criticism.

Companies that submitted business reports earlier due to schedules of secondary stock offerings and bond issuance are also feeling the burden of getting media attention. One conglomerate source said, "We had no choice but to disclose annual salary, and are worried it could be involved in conglomerate bashing."

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