By Kim Seung-yeon
SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) — The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) announced Monday that it has chosen Ryu Jin, the chairman of Poongsan Corp., as the sole candidate to take the helm of the business lobby.
The selection of Ryu as its new chair will be officially voted on at an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for Aug. 22, the FKI said.
The FKI noted that Ryu’s “experience, knowledge and network on the global stage” make him the ideal person to “lead the FKI to be promoted to a global think tank and become a pivotal organization.”
Ryu, 65, is the chairman of Poongsan, a major medium-sized enterprise involved in the production of nonferrous metal, mainly copper materials, and defense and precision products.
It had been widely speculated that Ryu would be considered for the FKI chairmanship, given his past service as the FKI vice chair and a wide range of networks he has built with the business community in the United States.
Ryu is currently a co-head of the Korea-U.S. Business Council, a forum between the business leaders of the two countries.
The FKI said it will also seek to merge with the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI), an FKI-affiliated think tank, upon approval at the extraordinary general meeting, a reform plan that will facilitate the return of its previous members that dropped out in the wake of a massive 2016 influence-peddling scandal that led to the ouster of then President Park Geun-hye.
The FKI was scrutinized over suspected involvement in pressuring major South Korean conglomerates, including Samsung, to pay contributions to two foundations with ties to a close confidante of Park at the center of the corruption scandal.
Samsung, SK, LG and Hyundai, the four biggest conglomerates, withdrew their membership from the FKI in the wake of the scandal.
The FKI, the largest business lobby in South Korea, has been pushing for an overhaul to improve its reputation. The merger of KERI will legally bring back Samsung and other previous members to the FKI, since those enterprises remain KERI members.