On April 5, a board meeting was held to appoint the 9th president of GIST, but it was rejected because no candidate met the criteria for more than a majority of the votes. The presidential candidate recommendation committee (the general committee) has narrowed the number of presidential candidates to three through a public offering and various reviews. It will be finally appointed through the board of directors. GIST met with Lee Seung-Jae, head of the GIST Board of Directors’ Secretariat (referred to as the secretariat), and asked about the process of appointing the new president and the president’s prolonged absence.
The president’s appointment will be conducted according to the articles of association of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology. First, the general committee will convene to select the final candidates through document and face-to-face screening. Currently, the general committee consists of ▲ two directors belonging to the board of directors, ▲ one external person recommended by the chairman, ▲ one ex officio director of the government, and ▲ one professor recommended by the faculty. The government will then conduct personnel verification for the final candidate for about a month. A candidate who holds a board of directors meeting based on the evaluation of the general election, verification of government personnel, and the announcement of the final candidate’s opinion will be appointed president. The new president will begin his term with the approval of the Minister of Science and ICT, and approval usually takes place on or the next day of the board of directors.
The new president will be appointed as early as the end of June.
The new president’s term is expected to begin in late June or early July. Nine people, including two insiders, applied for the public offering, which took place from April 21 to May 11. On May 16 and 23, the general committee selected three final candidates through document and face-to-face screening, respectively. Moon Seung-hyun, former president of GIST; Park Hyun-Wook, former vice president of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST); and Lim Ki-Chul, former president of the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Planning and Evaluation (KIST), were among the final candidates. The new president will take office in July at the latest because personnel verification and voting by the board of directors take about a month.
As the rejection of the appointment of the president was unusual, the selection process was not smooth. At the time of the initial public offering, local media reported competitively that it was disadvantageous to specific candidates, which led to applicants giving up support. “Unexpected results have occurred,” the secretariat said. “The general public and the board are also very sorry.”
The secretariat expressed a firm policy on the president’s appointment, saying, “We are not considering the possibility of being rejected again.” In this contest, candidates were actively sought and recruited not to repeat the rejection of the appointment. As a result, an application rate similar to the initial public offering (10 people) was achieved, and the appointment schedule is also proceeding smoothly.
Is the acting president’s system prolonged?
The president’s absence has been prolonged due to the sudden resignation of the former president and the rejection of the appointment of the new president, but the impact is not significant. Based on the experience of the president’s absence in the past, GIST is operated mainly by the vice chancellor and the head of the department. In the aftermath of the former president’s lawsuit, he was virtually absent in 2021. In addition, the secretariat dismissed concerns, saying, “As the process of appointing the president is proceeding normally, the psychological burden on the members will be much less.”
The authority of the acting president was determined according to the results of the legal interpretation of the law by the floor legal team. In the case of personnel, it is possible to work at the level of maintaining the status quo, such as filling vacancies or extending the term of office. Policies can maintain formal tasks and existing projects. In the case of finance, it is limited to the execution of the budget organized with common bond and debt tasks, such as payment for contracts already concluded.
Affairs outside the above authority shall be treated as an agenda item for resolution by the School Affairs Committee. The School Affairs Committee is a consultative body consisting of the head of the department, the head of the research institute, and the head of the department and is currently chaired by the acting president. In order to minimize the gap in the presidency, the school affairs committee meets more often than usual. However, urgent issues outside the scope of their authority will be decided through the introduction of the school affairs committee. The 2024 budget is currently underway under the acting president system.
However, the limitations of the acting president are evident as the current maintenance type of agenda is mainly handled. Currently, GIST has many tasks to deal with, such as setting a vision for the 30th anniversary of its establishment and securing finances due to the lifting of the designation of public institutions. This is why an official president should be appointed as soon as possible when it is difficult to promote new projects.