Kakao Entertainment nominated two executives to serve as co-CEOs on Friday (Jan. 19): Kisu Kweon, who is currently chief operations officer, and Joseph Chang, global strategy officer.
The South Korean tech conglomerate Kakao is influential in the music industry. Its subsidiary, Kakao Entertainment, merged with Melon, the country’s top streaming platform, in 2021, and it also owns Starship Entertainment, which has developed internationally successful K-pop groups like Monsta X and Ive. But in 2023, Bae Jae-hyun, Kakao’s chief investment officer, was indicted for allegedly manipulating stock price during a corporate battle with HYBE for a controlling stake in K-pop company SM Entertainment.
In December, Kakao’s founder and chairman said the company would “reset our expansion-centered management strategy,” “focus on core businesses,” as part of an effort to “change the company culture,” according to The Korea Economic Daily.
The promotion announcement at Kakao Entertainment emphasized “the need for leadership with a new perspective.” “We feel a great responsibility as we take on leadership during these pivotal times,” Kweon and Chang said in a joint statement.
“Our priority is to contribute to and meet the expectations of society going forward,” they added. “At the same time, we are dedicated to proving Kakao Entertainment’s full potential in the global market. We are excited to accelerate the innovation of our expansive content business to grow as a truly global entertainment player.”
The announcement of the co-CEO nominees indicated that they would each have slightly different purviews. Kweon “plans to focus on stabilizing the business while emphasizing innovation,” according to the press release, while Chang — a former Sony Music executive — will prioritize “strengthening [Kakao Entertainment’s] competitiveness in IP planning, production, and distribution.”
Now that Kweon and Chang are nominated as co-CEOs, the announcement noted that they “will undergo a formal appointment process through the board of directors and general shareholders’ meetings.”