Jailed SK Holdings chairman retains top board position

SEOUL, March 22 Fri Mar 22, 2013 5:36am EDT

SEOUL, March 22 (Reuters) - The jailed chairman of South Korea's SK Holdings Co Ltd was re-elected to the board of its major shareholder on Friday in defiance of the state pension fund, which aims to clean up corporate governance in Asia's fourth largest economy.

Shareholders of IT services firm SK C&C Co Ltd re-elected Chey Tae-won as director of the board during the annual general meeting. SK C&C controls SK Holdings, a unit of South Korea's third-largest conglomerate SK Group.

Chey was jailed for four years in January for embezzlement, signalling a shift in the relationship between South Korea's government and its major family-owned conglomerates or "chaebols".

The National Pension Service (NPS), the world's fourth-largest pension fund, owns a minor stake in SK C&C and had opposed Chey's reappointment after his conviction. Representatives of the fund, however, did not attend the meeting.

SK C&C said the 52-year-old Chey was "strongly committed" to upholding "management accountability". Chey remains in jail while he appeals his conviction.

Chey had stepped down from his position as chairman of telecom-to-oil SK Group in December but remains chairman and CEO of SK Holdings, oil refiner SK Innovation Co Ltd and chip maker SK Hynix Inc. (Writing by David Chance; editing by Miral Fahmy)