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제목 Labor union urges NPS to sack financial unit's CEO - The Korea Times 2021-07-12


Former Naver Chief Operating Officer Choi In-hyuk poses at the company's headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in this 2019 file photo. Courtesy of Naver


By Kim Jae-heun


Naver's union is asking the National Pension Service (NPS), the largest shareholder of the IT giant, to fire Choi In-hyuk from his CEO positions at Naver Financial and the Happybean Foundation.


The request came in response to the company's refusal to dismiss Choi from any of his positions, after he offered to resign only as chief operating officer (COO). Choi is involved in a recent scandal where an employee working under him committed suicide after experiencing bullying at work.


The union plans to utilize the stewardship code to hold a temporary shareholders meeting and bring in an item to remove Choi from all his positions.






Former Naver Chief Operating Officer Choi In-hyuk poses at the company's headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in this 2019 file photo. Courtesy of Naver
Members of Naver's union protest in front of company headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, June 7. Korea Times photo by Bae Woo-han


The stewardship code grants institutional investors to actively engage in corporate governance and decision-making policies to exercise their rights as shareholders. The code is not compulsory but it is increasingly viewed as a condition if companies wish to stay in business. The NPS currently holds 10.3 percent of Naver.


However, it is unknown whether the institution is willing to accept the union's request. Plus, even if it does exercise the stewardship code, the NPS's vote alone cannot fire Choi.


Meanwhile, the union's joint statement for the request was revealed at Naver's headquarters in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, last Friday and some 600 people watched an online broadcast of the announcement.


Union director Park Jae-woo, who was also a colleague of the deceased, made a public testimony on the day saying the employee had been experiencing serious depression.


"Before his death, my colleague decided to move to another team ― giving up his position on the team ― but a manager retaliated using the company's personnel evaluation system. It is not enough to remove Choi from just his COO position," Park said.


Other team managers who were involved in the case along with Choi were only given warnings or got their salaries cut. In Choi's case, he was the one who offered to resign rather than accepting an order from the company to do so.


The union has been holding a picket protest in front of the company headquarters since June 29. The organization has been asking the company to include a fair amount of union representatives in the internal investigation into the case and reduce team managers' power over employees through personnel evaluations. The union also urged improvements to compensation for work-related incidents.





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