NCSoft's Kim Taek-jin is best paid executive in 2020
Korea’s league table of top earners has been affected by Covid-19, with gamers beating the traditional captains of industry.
According to a Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) database on Wednesday, Kim Taek-jin, the founder and CEO NCSoft, took home the most in salary and bonus in 2020.
He pocketed 18.4 billion won ($16.2 million) last year. Of that, 2.1 billion won was salary and nearly 16.3 billion won was bonus.
The total amount was nearly double his pay in 2019. NCSoft’s Lineage M and Lineage 2M, the mobile version of the company’s long-time hit multiplayer online role playing game, were wildly popular.
Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who topped the list in 2019, is seen earning just over half the 18.2 billion won of 2019.
The precise amount of Shin’s remuneration is yet to be determined, as pay from some Lotte companies has not been disclosed.
So far, Shin has reported 7.7 billion won last year. Second-half earnings from Lotte Holdings and Lotte Hotel have yet to be reported, but will probably take the total to 10 billion won.
In the first half, Shin took home a combined 2.5 billion won from Lotte Holdings and Lotte Hotel.
LG Group Chairman Koo Kwang-mo received roughly 8.1 billion won, which is not much different from 2019, but his bonus tripled from the previous year to 3.6 billion won.
The LG Electronics television and computer sales were strong as many people were forced to stay home.
Hyundai Motor’s Chairman Euisun Chung received a combined 4.3 billion won from the Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Mobis as annual salary. With bonus, the total will be about 6 billion won.
SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won’s pay and bonus have not yet been reported, but the total will be around 6 billion won. Chey returned about 1.5 billion won of the bonus back to the company.
Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong received neither salary nor a bonus.
Lee Hae-jin, Naver’s founder and global investment officer, last year received nearly 2-billion-won in pay and bonus.
Naver CEO Han Seong-sook was paid nearly 3.5 billion won last year.
Kakao CEO Kim Beom-su, who made headlines after announcing the donation of half his wealth, is said to have received less than 500 million won.
Incomes of less than 500 million won do not have to be disclosed.
IT company executives have been emerging as a new force in the local businesses community, usurping the old guard, as the value of their shares increases.
According to Forbes, the value of shares owned by Nexon founder Kim Jung-ju, Kakao’s Kim Beom-su, NCSoft’s Kim Taek-jin and Naver’s Lee Hae-jin is estimated at $25.7 billion.
The combined value of shares owned Lee Jae-yong, Euisun Chung, Chey Tae-won and Koo Kwang-mo is estimated at $17.5 billion.
“Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the industrial structure has been changing,” said Jung Yeon-sung, a business management professor at Dankook University.
Company employees are also being paid well.
Last year, companies where the annual average wage exceeded 100 million won was 35.
This is two more than the 33 in 2019 as Naver and NCSoft were added to the list.
BY CHOI HYUN-JU, KWEN YU-JIN [firstname.lastname@example.org]