Thirty-one Korean multi-national companies, so-called “conglomerates,” including Hyundai Motor, SK Holdings, LG Corp, and LG Electronics, have appointed female outside directors for the first time. CEO Score, a corporate evaluation site, said on Wednesday that 46 out of 267 listed companies that submitted reports of the convocation of the general shareholder’s meeting had included agenda to elect female outside directors. The number of these female external directors total 51, which includes eight that are re-elected and 43 newly appointed ones.
It will be the first time for 31 out of 46 companies to appoint female external directors for the first time. Hyundai Motor appointed Professor Lee Ji-yoon of the Aerospace Engineering Department at KAIST as their first female external director. SK Holdings appointed Kim Sun-hee, the CEO of Maeil Dairies, while LG Group is planning to appoint Lee Su-young, former CEO of Kolon Eco One. LG Electronics will be appointing Professor Kang Soo-jin, former public prosecutor and current law school professor at Korea University.
Some companies have appointed multiple female directors. Kumho Petrochemicals has appointed three female directors: former constitutional judge and attorney Lee Jung-mi, Professor Park Soon-ae of the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University, Professor Choi Jung-hyun of the Environmental Engineering Department at Sung Kyun Kwan University. Hanwha Aerospace appointed Professor Kim Hyun-jin of the Aerospace Engineering Department at Seoul National University and Professor Lee Sun-hee of the law school at Sung Kyun Kwan University.
The rise of female external directors is closely related to the amended Act on Financial Investment Services and Capital Markets Act, which goes into effect in August next year. The act includes an article that states “listed corporations with total asset value exceeding two trillion won should not have board of directors composed of a specific gender only’. The change also comes amid business trends where companies are seeking for diversity in board of directors.