(LEAD) Kakao names Namkoong Whon as new CEO

고병준 / 2022-01-20 18:30:48
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(LEAD) Kakao-new CEO
▲ This image, provided by Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea's top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, on Jan. 20, 2022, shows its new nominee for CEO, Namkoong Whon. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

(LEAD) Kakao-new CEO

(LEAD) Kakao names Namkoong Whon as new CEO

(ATTN: ADDS other info in last 2 paras)

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea's top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, said Thursday it has named Namkoong Whon as its new CEO following the resignations of two former nominees.

Kakao said its board of directors accepted the resignation of incumbent co-CEO Yeo Min-soo, who was earlier named to lead the tech giant for another four years.

Namkoong, who has served as the chief of Kakao's new organization aimed at finding new growth engines, will be officially named as the CEO during a board of directors' meeting slated for March.

"I will focus on ESG management with huge responsibility so that Kakao can restore trust and live up to the expectation of the people," Namkoong was quoted by Kakao as saying.

The nomination comes as former nominee Ryu Young-joon offered to resign over controversial stock selloffs.

Ryu, who has served as the chief of Kakao's payment arm, Kakao Pay, was named to lead the tech giant with Yeo on Nov. 25.

Ryu, however, has come under criticism after he, along with other senior executives, sold around 90 billion won (US$75 million) worth of Kakao Pay shares by exercising their stock options on Dec. 10. They collected around 46.9 billion won in profit.

Ryu was supposed to serve as head of Kakao Pay until March but he expressed an intent to step down from the post, according to company officials.

A board meeting will be held as quickly as possible to discuss leadership replacement, they said, adding that Ryu will serve in the post until they make sure there is no management vacuum.

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