The head of South Korea’s financial watchdog, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), has resigned after questions have surfaces about hiring practices at his previous employer.
According to The Korea Herald, Choe Heung-sik was president of Hana Financial Group from 2012 until 2014. Hana owns KEB Hana Bank, the group’s signature banking arm and South Korea’s biggest lender.
During his time there, Choe allegedly had an entry-level applicant, who was the child of a close friend, accepted to KEB Hana Bank in 2013, even though the candidate had been unable to pass the recruitment process on his own.
While Choe admitted he had “passed on” the name of the applicant to HR, he denied interfering in the recruitment process or manipulating the scores.
“However, my past actions may not be up to par with the standards of the public,” he said in a statement. “I deemed that it was my action of responsibility to withdraw from my post if it was only to ensure fairness of the FSS’s investigation, as its chief.”
Korea JoongAng Daily reported that the FSS has been investigating unfair hiring practices at five commercial banks, including Hana Financial Group and KB Financial Group. In addition, KEB Hana Bank was accused for the highest number of cases (13), followed by KB Kookmin Bank and DGB Daegu Bank, with three each.
The hiring controversy involving Choe is currently under review by President Moon Jae-in’s office. Becoming a head of the FSS requires approval by the president, who must also formally accept Choe’s resignation.
Yoo Kwang-yeol, first senior deputy governor, will take over the post as acting governor of the FSS.