27 February 2013
President of the ECCK
Members and friends of the ECCK, ladies and gentlemen.
As the President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, it is my honor to welcome all of you to our first Annual General Meeting since the inception of this new chamber and since the election of the Board of Directors in December last year.
Tonight, I am asking you to join us to celebrate the initial set up of this new European Chamber; an organization which is meant to serve your needs and interests in Korea. We are proud of this achievement yet it has only been possible with your help, and therefore I thank all of you for your support.
Being a very active team, I appreciate my fellow Board members for their dedicated efforts, and I am grateful to the ECCK staff for their hard work during difficult times.
However, I must say that it is not just a night for celebration and delight. We have come a long way to establish this new organization, yet before us, we see new challenges to win back the trust of the European business community and the confidence of our Korean friends.
The European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, or ECCK, is a completely new legal entity, which had to be built up in its entirety. It is a start-up organization with all the complexities the foundation of a new company carries along.
However, with the perceived legacy, both the board and the staff of the ECCK have been striving to come up with clear rules and internal controls from the beginning. As emphasized from the very first stage, we have put the utmost initial focus on transparency and oversight. Currently, we are finalizing the legal documentation in order to ensure that this organization is prepared for any challenges that we might come across.
Guidelines and strict rules for financial transactions are in place or at their final stage of implementation.
During the past three months, my fellow Board Members and I have frequently met to oversee the operations and procedures within the ECCK and we have provided constructive input to ensure professional processes.
In this light, we have decided to arrange for an audit of the financial statements also for the short financial year 2012 and therefore, we will ask you later today to confirm the audit firm who will carry out the audit of the short fiscal year 2012.
Transparency is the most important first step to be a legitimate organization.
I assure you that, we will apply similar standards which we also apply to the companies our Board-members work for during times where we are not busy serving you.
Furthermore, we aim to be a transparent, effective as well as a competent organization, which serves your best interest in Korea. We have started well, yet still, we have interesting tasks and challenges ahead of us.
Now it is time to switch focus from internal to external and concentrate on the committees’s work.
To make this vision come true, I will make three promises to you, as a testimony of our commitment to continue to form a competent European Chamber:
First, we have established and will continue to live a spirit of inclusiveness and cooperation. We want to transcend national differences and build strong connections with other national chambers and business associations. We will strive for cooperation for the mutual benefit of our members. We see many complementary tasks between the bilateral chambers and the ECCK and we shall ensure striving for sharing the tasks in order to maximize the output for our members.
Second, mutual prosperity is our goal and we will contribute to the Korean society as much as we receive from it. As a business organization, the ECCK will lead by example in developing projects and programs to the benefit of both Europeans and Koreans. We have many ideas and I am sure, so do you.
Finally, and most importantly, we will work for and with our members by developing ways to provide better services. Efforts will be made to find creative ways to solve your problems while you are doing business in or with Korea.
While we have to make decisions every day on your behalf, we are striving for collecting information and opinions from our members as a base for our decisions.
We are a members’ organization!
We are a members’ board!
Therefore, we are always open for your suggestions and we have received a lot of suggestions, covering many different topics, such as the constitution, membership status and so forth. We are very thankful for your input and will consider all of it, but we also request, that our decisions are accepted because diverging opinions must be balanced every day.
Next to transparency, reliability, and high quality services, this underlying principle is maybe the most important change you can see in this new European chamber: Listening is a key word of the corporate culture we have been establishing.
Yet, let me explain my understanding of ‘Listening’ drawing on the deep knowledge and sense of a Chinese character which can be interpreted as being comprised of actually five other characters:
Once again, on behalf of the ECCK, I would like to thank all those of you who have supported us so far, and I encourage those who haven’t signed up yet to join us, as this first year is crucial to the success of the European companies and the ECCK in Korea.
Please join and support us in this enterprise.
Thank you for your attention!