“You don’t have to play sports to be a millionaire”

December 3, 2013

Average salary for executives at top 100 Korean 

conglomerates reaches close to $1 million

Three registered executives at Samsung Electronics received 5.2 billion won ($4.9 million) in 2012. (Yonhap)


(Yonhap) – Registered executives of South Korea’s top 100 conglomerates received an average of 1 billion won (US $942,000) in annual salary in 2012 with C-suite members at Samsung Electronics Co. topping the annual paycheck list, data showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by market research service firm CXO Institute, 334 board members of the top 100 local companies in terms of sales received 1.09 billion won in yearly salary last year.

Three registered executives at Samsung Electronics, the world’s top smartphone, memory chip and flat-panel TV maker, received 5.2 billion won ($4.9 million) in 2012, but their salaries declined sharply from 10.9 billion won ($10.3 million) the previous year, the data showed.

SK Innovation Co., the nation’s leading oil refiner, ranked second by paying 4.1 billion ($3.86 million). Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Meritz Fire &Marine Insurance Co. trailed with 3.68 billion won ($3.47 million)and 3.22 billion won ($3.03 million), respectively.

Starting next year, executives at listed companies who pull down 500 million won (currently $4.712 million) or more a year must reveal their salary details under a revised bill on the capital market. The firms previously only had to make public the average annual salaries of their executives.

There have also been growing calls to fix current pay systems to stem leniency and bolster performance-based evaluations. Local companies have come under scrutiny for paying their C-suite members generous salaries even though they fared worse in quarterly earnings.

Market watchers have claimed that the rule will only have a limited impact on bolstering corporate transparency, as non-registered executives are not obligated to follow the revised rule.

Accordingly, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, as well as his only son Lee Jay-yong, will not be obligated to disclose their paycheck figures

Owners of other major conglomerates, including Hyundai Motor Group, SK Group, LG Group and Hanwha Group, meanwhile, will have their annual incomes disclosed as they hold registered-executive status in their groups’ affiliates.