NCsoft Chief Is Korea's Highest-Paid CEO

  • By Lee Sung-hoon, Kim Kang-han

    March 24, 2021 11:58

    NCsoft CEO Kim Taek-jin earned the highest salary in Korea last year with W18.4 billion including bonuses (US$1=W1,131).

    Second was CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun with W12.4 billion and third Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin with W11.2 billion.

    Kim Taek-jin

    The CEO of the game developer is the first self-made entrepreneur rather than big-business scion to rank at the top of the wage pyramid. Kim's salary was W2.12 billion, but he also earned W16.3 billion in incentives and bonuses.

    NCsoft's sales jumped 42 percent last year while operating profit surged 72 percent.

    Among the heads of the country's four major conglomerates, LG chairman Koo Kwang-mo took home the fattest paycheck with a salary of W4.37 billion and W3.64 billion in bonuses. Next was SK chairman Chey Tae-won with W6.3 billion including W3.3 billion from SK Corporation and W3 billion from SK Hynix.

    Hyundai Motor chairman Chung Eui-sun earned W5.98 billion and his father Chung Mong-koo, who ceded control last year, W56.7 billion including W52.7 billion in severance pay.

    Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong has worked without salary for four years now since he was first accused of bribing ex-President Park Geun-hye in 2017.

    Among other tech tycoons, Naver founder Lee Hae-jin earned W1.98 billion and Kakao chairman Kim Beom-su W530 million.

    Samsung Electronics vice chairman Kim Ki-nam was the highest-paid executive who does not actually own the firm he works for with W8.27 billion. Second was SK Telecom president Park Jung-ho with W7.38 billion.

    Earnings rose sharply among executives of online and game companies whose business boomed in lockdown. Kakao CEO Yeo Min-soo earned W6.48 billion including W4.45 billion in stock options. Co-CEO Joh Su-yong, who did not exercise his stock option, earned W3.48 billion.

    NCsoft managing director Lee Sung-ku earned W4.9 billion, and vice president Yoon Jae-soo W4.49 billion. Other fat cats were Netmarble CEO Kwon Young-sik (W4.42 billion) and Naver CEO Han Seong-sook (W3.46 billion).

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