Shinhan's Ra Named To Serve Fourth Term

Shinhan Financial Group Chmn. Ra becomes longest serving financial CEO given credit for huge expansion

Shinhan Financial Group has renamed Ra Eung-chan as its chairman of the board for unprecedented fourth consecutive term during its board of directors meeting on Feb. 26, the group announced on Feb. 26.
Financial sources speculated that the group wanted to keep its operations stable while going through the upheaval period in the financial community this year and the next with the Woori Financial Group on the verge of privatization and Kookmin Bank Holding Co. still seeking to find its chairman, and the sale of Korea Exchange Bank looming ahead.
Ra has become the longest serving CEO of financial institutions in the country at 19 years with the help of the group's shareholders in the Korean-Japanese community.
He began his banking career by joining the Farmers Bank in 1959 after graduating from Seolin Commercial High School in Seoul. He was among the founding members of Shinhan Bank in 1982 after serving with a number of financial institutions including Daegu Bank and Korea First Investment and Finance.
In 1991, he was named CEO of Shinhan Bank and served in that post for three consecutive terms. In 2001, he was named to head the Shinhan Financial Group as it was launched in the year.
Ra said the entire Shinhan family including families of employees are the most important factor to him as Shinhan Bank has been to him, which shows how much he loves the Shinhan Financial Group. He feel as if he had his hands in every important turning point in its growth as seen in his management records with both the bank and the group.
The bank only had three branches when it started with 25 billion won in capital and now it has become the bank contending for a top position in the domestic banking industry. The group's market value has grown to 19.6 trillion won, 1 trillion won more than those of the Kookmin Financial Holding, the largest financial group in the country.
By the end of 2009, the group's capital totaled 22.5 trillion won and total assets 304 trillion won and net income of 1.3 trillion won.
The bottom of the myth is the word stressed by Chairman Ra, "Shinhan Spirit" which led to the creation of the Shinhan culture, a fresh new one at the time when banks just dealt with customers calling on them being so authoritative, while Shinhan encouraged its employees to make calls on customers under its management strategy centered on customers. The move turned every one of the bank's employee who acted as if he were a licenser to a salesman, which was unheard of then.
Ra made sure that the bank always centered its business based on what happens at the market and upheld the organization above any thing else at the expense of various circles among employees so that each employee can show his or her talent.
Ra also steered the group to deal with M&As successfully with great results. The group took over such industry giants as Chohung Bank, one of the oldest banks in the country and LG Card through M&As to make Shinhan Group to have ideal financial institutions in its portfolio make up.
A head of a local financial group told reporters grudgingly acknowledged that Shinhan has the most enviable and ideal financial portfolio among the financial groups in the country.
Many mega events are poised to shake up the financial industry in the next several years including the privatization of Woori Financial Group including Woori Bank, with Kookmin Financial, No. 1 and Hana Financial Groups, No. 4, contending to take over the group through M&As. The sale of Korea Exchange Bank also looms ahead which will bring a mega bang in the banking industry and both Kookmin and Hana banks also are poised to take over the bank.
In the rapidly changing financial environment, Chairman Ra has a huge job ahead of him. He has to expand the strength of Shinhan Financial Group and retain its power accumulated thus far. He also has to see that the group's overseas operations in Vietnam and Japan have visible results soon, now that the group prefers to expand its overseas operations to expand its profits and portfolio by making them more diversified with the domestic banking reaching saturation point.
Ra also is called upon to prepare for his successor by making President Shin Sang-hoon, now widely touted as the successor firm up his position as the possible heir to the top job in the group. nw

Chairman Ra Eung-chan of Shinhan Financial Group who has recently been named to serve the fourth consecutive term.

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