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Law professor named head of antitrust watchdog

Aug. 18, 2022 - 18:12 By Choi Si-young
Han Ki-jeong. (Seoul National University)
President Yoon Seok-yeol has appointed a professor who specializes in insurance law and investor protection to lead the Fair Trade Commission, the presidential office said Thursday in a statement.

Han Ki-jeong, who teaches commercial law at Seoul National University and led the private Korea Insurance Research Institute between 2016 and 2019, will help revitalize a free market economy the Yoon government seeks, according to the statement.

“Han has long studied what consumers need and knows where to draw the line that is equally rewarding to both consumers and businesses,” the office said. “Han will help implement rules for stronger consumer protection.”

Han, who will have to sit through a National Assembly confirmation hearing but does not need the approval, will be the first law professor to lead the FTC.

A month earlier, Han’s colleague -- also a law professor at SNU -- withdrew as the nominee to head the agency over sexist remarks he had made while teaching at the university.

The antitrust watchdog currently faces a daunting task of putting new regulation in place as financial companies and tech companies like Naver and Kakao fight over areas they can expand into.

But critics pointed out that Han has no previous experience in handling antitrust cases, although how his lack of experience would affect policymaking at the top watchdog remains to be seen.