The Korea Herald


Kakao Entertainment names new CEOs amid continued controversy

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Jan. 19, 2024 - 17:23

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Kweon Ki-su (left) and Joseph Chang (Kakao Entertainment) Kweon Ki-su (left) and Joseph Chang (Kakao Entertainment)

Kakao Entertainment said Friday it has designated the company's Chief Operating Officer Kweon Ki-su and Global Strategy Officer Joseph Chang as the company's co-chief executive officers, in a bid to push for reform amid public criticisms surrounding the company's alleged stock manipulations.

According to Kakao Entertainment, before Kweon and Chang are officially appointed, which will take place after Kakao's board meetings and shareholders' meetings, the two co-CEO nominees will jointly head a task force -- which will aim to communicate with stakeholders to assess the necessary tasks for the company's innovation and establish systems for upcoming changes.

Kweon previously served as the chief financial officer of Daum Communication in 2013. Later, he went on to oversee management support at Kakao M (the former name for Kakao Entertainment) and currently holds the position of chief operating officer and head of the music content division at Kakao Entertainment.

"Possessing expertise across various aspects of management, (Kweon) will leverage his profound understanding of the culture and business of Kakao Group and Kakao Entertainment, and aim to prioritize innovation while focusing on stabilizing the business," said a Kakao Entertainment official via a press release.

Meanwhile, Joseph Chang previously served as the CEO and the managing director of Sony Music Entertainment Korea, before taking office as the global strategy officer of Kakao Entertainment on 2021.

The company said that with his new title, Jang will be focusing on strengthening the company's competitiveness globally by fortifying the company's capability to develop, produce and distribute intellectual property.

"We feel a heavy sense of responsibility as we stand on the brink of a new change to take on leadership. To meet societal expectations and standards, we will continue our efforts," said Kweon and Jang via a press release.

"Simultaneously, we will accelerate innovation and evolution in the content business, proving the growth potential of Kakao Entertainment in the global market. We are committed to rising as a true global entertainment company."

The change in leadership at Kakao Entertainment, initiated for the first time since the company's establishment in March 2021, comes as the company has been under fire for allegedly inflating its stock price to hinder Hybe's acquisition of SM Entertainment.

In connection with the allegation, Kim Sung-soo and Lee Jin-soo, the co-CEOs of Kakao Entertainment, were referred to the prosecution in November last year. The terms of office for co-CEOs Kim Sung-soo and Lee Jin-soo are scheduled to expire in March.