Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS) is seeking a new chairman and chief investment officer after the incumbents, Choi Kwang and Hong Wan-Sun, were forced to step down after a spat between the two.
NPS started taking applications for the CIO role last week, and candidates can apply until November 16. This will be the $450 billion fund’s seventh investment head since the National Pension Fund Management Centre (NPFMC) was set up in 1999.
The public recruitment process for a new chairman is also under way; the recruitment details will be announced this month.
Hong’s official tenure ended on November 3, but he will perform his role as CIO until his successor is appointed, in accordance with the law governing the management of public institutions. He had been CIO since November 2013, while Choi had assumed the chairman role in May 2013.
The move comes as discussions for reform of the NPS governance structure are gaining momentum. The minister of health and welfare, Chung Chinyoub, announced on October 20 that the government planned to turn the NPFMC into a state-run corporation.
The new CIO will be expected to defuse the conflict between the management of the NPS and the NPFMC. On October 12 Choi Kwang, then NPS chairman, had rejected the re-appointment of Hong as CIO, despite the latter having the support of the Ministry of Health and Welfare. The Ministry demanded Hong’s resignation on condition that Choi also leave his post, which he did, on October 27.
Choi and Hong should “take full responsibility” for the internal conflict at the institution by stepping down, said Minister Chung at a meeting with the Health and Welfare Committee of the National Assembly on October 22.
Last week NPS said it had convened a Fund Executive Candidate Recommendation Committee to accept applications for the CIO post. The committee evaluates candidates before recommending them to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which grants final approval for the appointment. The CIO serves a two-year tenure with the option of a one-year extension.
Each CIO applicant must have a career background as a divisional head of a financial institution and professional experience of at least three years in the asset management and investment business.