Naver has shown up young leaders in their 40s at the front line of the business. What is common between Choi Soo-yeon the nominee for the CEO and Kim Nam-sun the nominee for the CFO is that they both can introduce a global perspective to the business. The decision reflects Naver’s management vision toward a global big tech company.
■Young leaders with a global mindset coming to the forefront
Naver nominated Choi Soo-yeon as next CEO and Kim Nam-sun as next CFO at the board meeting on the 17th. The two nominees have had careers in law and finance before joining Naver in November 2019 and August 2020 respectively.
Young leaders in their 40s would get to contribute to a long-standing CSO system (CEO, CFO, CCO, COO) centered around Lee Hae Jin, Global Investment Officer (GIO) as well as founder of Naver. This is comparable to an incidence where Kim Beom-su, Chairman of the Kakao Board of Directors appointed Rim Ji Hoon, then CEO of K Cube Ventures, as CEO of Kakao at age 35 (born in 1980) in August 2015. Its strategy is to speed up innovation efforts at home and abroad through young leaders with much experience on the global stage.
The two nominees are going to engage in global businesses in earnest through a “NAVER Transition TF”. And they are planning to pick up pace with building a new leadership and overhauling the organization. Naver said, “the two nominees would expand the business globally through engendering synergy effects among businesses by creating a system where major businesses can fulfill their social and legal responsibilities globally. They would take responsibility for creating a new business that has a growth potential in the global market through making investments in technology and human resources.”
■ Challenges including company overhaul, response to big tech regulation remain
Han Seongsuk, CEO of Naver and the management team are planning a successful transition to new leadership roles that involve the two nominees by March next year.
However, some voice concerns. Since there was an incident where an employee committed suicide due to bullying in the workplace, Naver has been preparing for change to leadership by creating a taskforce.
The issue was so serious that Naver created a department dedicated to protecting human rights under direct control of CEO.
Naver is facing challenges such as strengthening global businesses, organization overhaul and responding to big tech regulation.
Industry insiders said, “unlike the time when Rim Ji Hoon in his thirties joined Daumkakao, the platform of Naver has grown beyond our imagination. Attention is being paid to whether the two nominees could face this circumstance head on based on stabilizing the organization at a time when the company is in need of a stable technological leadership.”