Cho Yong-beong, the chairman-designate of Shinhan Financial Group said he will guide the group to borrowing from the Roman Empire’s culture of openness, adaptability and ceaseless challenge and reforms, which became the pillars that kept the alive for 1,000 years, so that Shinhan continues to grow and become a global financial giant.
Cho, president of Shinhan Bank, has been nominated to take over as chairman of the financial group in March when Chairman Han Dong-woo’s term expires.
He unabashedly expresses his plan to apply lessons learned from studying the Roman Empire to Shinhan Financial Group, particularly to challenge the global financial group when he takes over in next month. He said the early employees of the group and its affiliates, including Shinhan Bank, studied the history of the Roman Empire.
He will lead the group to build a process to adopt the indomitable spirit of the Roman Empire in its operation to move the group toward its objectives.
The chairman-designate is too ambitious to let the financial group just stay on top of the domestic financial industry he wants to step on the gas to boost its overseas operation, just like Hyundai Motor and Samsung Electronics, with stable and growing operations overseas. President Cho was nominated to succeed Chairman Han at the board meeting of Shinhan Financial Holdings on Jan. 20 as the third chairman of the group.
Shinhan’s 38 affiliates have total assets of 370 trillion won. Cho talked about the growth of the financial group when he met with reporters following the board meeting. He said he was rather concerned that finding the way to growth may be difficult for the group, as financial market face uncertainty.
He said finding future growth engines would be the hardest task facing financial firms. Cho is faced with a heavier burden than his peers in rival financial groups, as he has the task of turning enough profit for the group to maintain its top position in the industry.
Rivals KB Financial Group, Hana Financial Group and Woori Financial Group have strengthened their operations of late through mergers and acquisitions and privatization to challenge Shinhan Financial Group’s No. 1 position. The new chairman has to juggle the group’s business portfolio to strengthen the insurance and securities businesses, which so far have lagged behind its rivals, unlike the group’s banking and credit card businesses. Topping the challenges to shoring up the group’s weaker links, Cho will have to cope with the launch of two Internet banks, Kakao and K banks, which are expected to heat up competition among large commercial banks.
During his interview by the board to select the new chairman, Cho said he will aim to strengthen the group’s international operation and digital businesses as part of his “master plan” if he is selected as chairman.
He will also strengthen the existing financial products to expand its share in the Fintech area and the “Sunny Bank Service,” a mobile platform that its affiliate Shinhan Bank has been operating, by strengthening its support base around the country.
The new chairman would also have to speed up the expansion of the group’s overseas operation to build its Asian belt centered on Vietnam and Myanmar, and to expand the investment banking business at major financial centers around the world.
He will be officially inaugurated following shareholders’ approval at their meeting next month. His term goes to March 2020.