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Put your corporate credit card down

June 14,2017
On May 25, President Moon Jae-in instructed at the first meeting with secretaries and aides at the Blue House that the overall special activities expense should be reviewed and improved, and said he would pay the food costs of his family from his salary instead of the special activities expense. Many Koreans are positively shocked and welcome the change.

I have been treated to rounds of golf and meals from friends who are corporate executives, and I also thought that paying for them with the corporate card was acceptable. It has been a long-established practice of using corporate cards for private purposes. I have used the corporate card to pay back for the hospitality I have received a few times a month.

However, this is one of the established evils that must be eradicated in Korean corporate culture. Now that the president is leading by example, how about private companies voluntarily begin a movement to use corporate cards for fair purposes?

President Moon requested a meaningful plan on how to use the 5.3 billion won ($4.7 million) diverted from the Blue House special activities expense budget, linking it with the job-related supplementary budget. Companies can take a cue from here and find a way to use savings from voluntary reduction of corporate card usage for creating jobs or investing on research and development.

Former Hyundai Motors chairman Chung Se-yung frequently emphasized that executives should not use corporate cards for dining or golf rounds. Corporate chairmen also remind executives to use corporate cards for proper purposes, companies check receipts to make sure they are not used for private purposes in audits and inspection. When companies and executives respond to the fresh message of the new administration, it will help transparent finance and make society fairer.

*Vice chairman of Seungri Adcom.

Kim Soo-in