ESTABLISHED as Korea’s first financial holding company in April 2004, Woori Financial Group has continued to grow as a world-class leading financial group with a balanced business portfolio, including banking, securities, insurance and consumer finance services. Woori Financial Group has made remarkable achievements thanks to the ongoing support and encouragement of its customers and shareholders. To reward them, the financial group is putting its utmost efforts into leading the way in the Korean financial industry.
At the heart of the new management of the financial group is Lee Pal-seung, Chairman of the Woori Finance Group. Chairman Lee is called “a man of miracle.” Lee started his career at Hanil Bank (now Woori Bank), going on to become the youngest ever executive at the bank.
Whilst President of Woori Investment and Securities Co., the company recorded remarkable growth. Lee’s managerial ability also proved highly effective when he headed the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. After Lee took office as CEO of the orchestra, he expanded its income by 2,400%. Lee proved that the scope of effective management is not limited to companies.
In June of 2008, Lee became Chairman of Woori Financial Group based on his career and ability. Some criticized that Lee became Chairman of the financial group thanks to his good relationship with President Lee Myung-bak. However, Lee has proven them wrong. Lee gained trust from employees faster than expected, while also successfully overcoming the global financial crisis thanks to his abilities as a seasoned financial professional.
Initially, Lee changed the financial group with his strong communication skills, emphasizing unity among employees and communicating with them via satellite broadcasting, email and direct meetings. Lee also proposed his plan to turn Woori Finance Group into one of the top 30 financial groups in the world. To this end, Lee devised a strategy to strengthen its global and non-banking business divisions. In fact, at the end of March, 2009, Woori Financial Group posted 330 trillion won in total assets, the highest among Korean companies.
Lee has purchased stocks of Woori Financial Group since the beginning of the global financial group to show his strong belief in the stability of the group. Recently, he bought 4,000 shares at 13,300 won a share, bringing his total shares in the group to 25,000.
Lee is pushing forward with his global vision, recently taking part in the launch ceremony of the Woori Global OK Service at the Intercontinental Hotel in New York. Lee told reporters after the ceremony, “As the domestic business has reached its limits, I will actively seek to make a foray into the overseas business to find a new growth engine,”
These days, Chairman Lee’s focus is set on social contribution. He emphasizes ethical management and corporate social responsibilities, as Woori Bank survived thanks to public funds, that is, tax money from the public. Thus, the entire group and its member companies have been expanding internship programs and create new jobs for young people. Just before the Chusok Holiday, Lee and other employees visited poor old citizens with gifts of rice and pears. They bought the rice and pears from the sister farming village of the financial group to help the farmers.
Chairman Lee is also committed to helping Woori Financial Group play a pivotal role in invigorating the economy with a sense of duty and pride as the nation’s favorite financial service provider. Above all, Lee will continue to increase shareholder value through efficiently managing financial risks and focusing on profitability.