"We do not want to dismantle chaebols, but rather focus on solving problems of chaebols," said Kim Sang-Joo, chairman of the Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC).
"The problem is that families of chaebol founders are exercising tremendous power without transparency and accountability," Kim said in a Bloomberg interview on October 11.
Kim added that Samsung and Hyundai Motors, like European companies, need “control towers” to create overall corporate strategy. He also stressed that the role of chaebol descendants should be limited to the role of boards of directors’ chairmen.
"A chaebol reform must be pursued in a sustainable and irreversible manner," Kim said. “Governance structures of firms in Western Europe are 30 years ahead of Korea," he added. "We aim to get rid of this gap within 10 years."
"The authority of the FTC is still limited to imposing penalties on companies that violated law," Kim said. “Efforts for collaboration with other ministries and offices really matter.” “In particular, the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which oversees work related to the national pension, is important in terms of giving a boost to activism in the capital market and I share the same opinion with Choi Jong-koo, chairmen of the Financial Supervisory Commission,” Kim explained.
"We will continue to strengthen laws that do not discriminate between Korean investors and foreign investors," Kim said. "We hope that foreign investors will invest more actively in the Korean market with a long-term perspective."