A golden handshake made former Kakao CEOs Joh Su-yong and Yeo Min-soo Korea's highest-paid executives last year, when they made more than W30 billion from exercising their stock options (US$1=W1,308).The highest-paid conglomerate owner was CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun who bagged more than W22.1 billion from the holding company and subsidiaries. Korea's top 30 conglomerates and major IT companies unveiled the figures in business reports that had to be filed by Wednesday.
Joh made W36.4 billion -- W33.8 billion from stock options and the rest from wages and severance pay -- while Yeo earned W33.4 billion including W31.8 billion from stock options. They quit as growing public criticism battered the online behemoth over its greedy business expansion to the detriment of small businesses. Lee earned W10.6 billion from CJ, W7.3 billion from CJ Cheiljedang and W4.19 billion from CJ ENM. NCsoft CEO Kim Taek-jin came third with W12.3 billion last year including W10 billion in bonuses.Automaker Hyundai chairman Chung Eui-sun earned W10.6 billion, LG chairman Koo Kwang-mo W9.4 billion and SK's Chey Tae-won W3.5 billion. Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong has not been taking salary or bonuses from his company since 2017 because he had been in and out of jail before he was pardoned last August.