Kakao Pay CEO takes big pay and incentive cuts
Shin Won-keun, Kakao Pay CEO-designate, will be paid minimum wage until the company's stock price hits 200,000 won ($164).
Shin and four other executives will return incentives they received last year, and Shin will not take any incentives until Kakao Pay's stock price bounces back. Money saved will go to rewarding employees, Kakao Pay said.
The announcement was made as Kakao Pay aims to restore trust, two months after the company's union complained about a series of share sales.
CEO Ryu Young-joon and seven other executives sold 90 billion won ($74 million) of company shares in December, only a month after the Kakao Pay went public.
The sales were legal and did not violate any company rules, but the union protested, and Ryu withdrew as Kakao co-CEO-designate. Shin was one of the eight executives selling.
"We will fortify a responsible management and recover the trust from both in and outside of the company," Shin said in a press release. "We will do our best so that the company succeeds in bringing about new growth."
According to Shin, the announcement comes from consulting with a task force dedicated to rebuilding trust.
The team includes Kakao Pay employees, the union and Shin. It is led by Bae Young, a professor in the humanities and social sciences department of Pohang University of Science and Technology.
In addition to returning the bonuses, the five executives will buy company shares every quarter from June, when they can start buying Kakao Pay stock again. The current law prohibits the trading of the company's stock for six months if a person sells their stock options.
The executives will make donations with gains from selling company stock in the future. The charity will be chosen in cooperation with the trust-building task force, Kakao Pay said.
The announcement follows a new rule implemented in January for all executives at Kakao, Kakao subsidiaries and related companies.
Under the new rule, all executives will have to hold new shares for one year after a company goes public, and CEOs for two. Should an executive want to sell, they will have to report it to Kakao's Corporate Alignment Center (CAC).
"The trust-rebuilding team will monitor how the promises are kept and seek out various ways to bring back the trust from related parties," Bae said.
Kakao Pay shares peaked at 248,500 won in November and are now trading at 141,500.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]