[THE INVESTOR] Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo was the top earner among leaders of family-controlled conglomerates last year in South Korea, data showed on Aug. 3.
The Economic Reform Research Institute said in its analysis of executives’ annual paychecks that Chung earned 9.3 billion won ($8.25 million) from Hyundai Mobis and Hyundai Motor, two core operating units under Hyundai Motor Group. Chung has topped the list for the third consecutive year, the report said.
Hyundai Motor Chairman Chung Mong-koo.
Chung was followed by CJ Group Co-chairman Sohn Kyung-sik and GS Group Chairman Hur Chang-soo who earned 8.2 billion won and 7.4 billion won, respectively. Hanjin Group Chairman Cho Yang-ho was fourth on the list with 6.6 billion won.
The report highlighted that tycoons who are currently on trial or being held responsible for management failure were still highly-paid, despite the risks they posed to their companies.
Lotte Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who is on trial on charges of bribing a close friend of former President Park Geun-hye, received an annual paycheck of 6.4 billion won, while S.R. Cho, the former Hyosung Group chairman who is also on trial over charges of embezzlement and malpractice, earned 4.6 billion won. Choi Eun-young, former chairwoman of now defunct Hanjin Shipping, earned 1.1 billion won from Eusu Holdings, which she launched after handing over the shipping firm to her brother-in-law.
SK Chairman Chey Tae-won, who returned to management in March last year, was given 1.6 billion won.
In comparison, chief executive officers who are not from chaebol families earned between 600 million won and 800 million won on average annually, nearly one-third of the average 1.8 billion won paychecks given to chairmen from chaebol families.
Lee Soo-jeong, an ERRI researcher who led the report, said some tycoons’ salaries remain unknown, though they have returned to management, as they have stayed away from the boardroom of registered directors.
Under the law, only registered board room members are required to report their income and are also held legally responsible in cases of civil and criminal charges against the companies.
By Cho Chung-un/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)