Financial expert proposed as outside director of Shinhan Financial Group

Affinity Equity Partners, a major shareholder of Shinhan Financial Group, has recommended Lee Yong-guk, senior counsel at U.S.-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, as the group’s new outside director, industry sources said on Wednesday (March 3).

Lee will be officially appointed as the outside director at the regular shareholders’ meeting scheduled for the end of March, unless an unexpected situation occurs.

Lee joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in 1992 after graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He became a partner in 1999 and retired in 2019. Lee is currently senior counsel at the law firm and a clinical professor at the Seoul National University School of Law.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s clients include South Korean conglomerates like Samsung, LG, CJ and SK. It served as legal advisor when Samsung Electronics issued global bonds for the first time in Korea in 1992 and has since acted as a legal advisor for numerous initial public offerings by major South Korean companies, as well as merger and acquisition deals.

Shinhan Financial Group’s board can have a maximum of 15 members and it now has 13, comprising the banking group’s chief Cho Yong-byung, two non-executive directors and 10 outside directors. Eight of the 10 outside directors’ terms will end after the upcoming shareholders’ meeting, but most of them are expected to remain on the board.

Affinity Equity Partners and Baring Private Equity Asia participated in Shinhan Financial Group’s 1.15 trillion won ($1.02 billion) worth rights offering last year, which gave them respective 3.96% and 3.62% stakes in the group and allowed each to forward a candidate for the post of outside director. (Reporting by Si-eun Park)