Namyang apology doesn’t go down well

By Korea Herald

Suppliers including berated vendor demand sincerity, compensation

Published : May 9, 2013 - 19:37
Updated : May 9, 2013 - 19:37

The latest public apology issued by Namyang Dairy Products did not appear to be as effective as the company had hoped, especially vis-a-vis the suppliers who refused to accept it.

“There was much room for improvement in that apology, not to mention that most of the preventive measures the company announced seemed impractical,” said Lee Chang-sub, head of an organization of distributors supplying to Namyang.

He called on the nation’s largest dairy maker to issue a proper apology, adding that Namyang lacked sincerity on the issue.

“The company needs to correct its past unfair practices and offer rightful compensations,” Lee said.

Namyang Dairy president Kim Woong (fifth from left) and executives bow to apologize for the abuse scandal involving its employee during a news conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

On Thursday, Namyang chief executive Kim Woong came forward, flanked by a host of company executives, and bowed his head in regret as he issued a public apology on behalf of his company.

He acknowledged that Namyang had been guilty of trying to dump its products on local distributors and suppliers, and said the firm would put in place countermeasures, such as a system where suppliers can immediately return product supplies they felt were unnecessary or forced upon them.

Namyang also promised to help support vendors by offering scholarships to their children, and by doubling its funds for financing mutual growth with its suppliers to 50 billion won ($45.8 million).

But the essence of the statement was to beg pardon for a former Namyang employee who three years ago had verbally abused the owner of a distributor, demanding that he take on more products than the owner said he could sell. The owner on Thursday refused Kim’s apology.

Namyang had recently come under fire for an audio recording of the problematic conversation between the Namyang worker ― who resigned after the recording was aired ― and the supplier.

The government has now launched an investigation into whether there are more such companies that have been pressuring their vendors.

Critics, meanwhile, asked why Hong Won-sik, the owner of Namyang Dairy, was not present at the scene of the apology.

Netizens said they could not find the apology as sincere as the executives were offering it not to suppliers and vendors, but to consumers.

Kim attempted to ask forgiveness from some of the heads of the supplier and vendor organizations in addition to the berated vendor owner, but was directly rejected.

The organizations said they had not been informed of any exchange between them and Namyang, and therefore did not feel obligated to accept.

By Kim Ji-hyun (


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