Naver founder Hae-jin Lee apologized for the death of a Naver employee in May, saying, “As the founder, it is my responsibility.”
Naver founder, email to all employees
According to the IT industry, Naver founder and Global Investment Officer (GIO) Haejin Hae-jin sent an email to all the company’s employees on the 30th of last month and said, “My faults and shortcomings are the biggest in what Naver is going through right now. It belongs to me and the management who founded this company.”
On May 25, Naver’s 40-year-old developer made an extreme choice, and testimonies spread through the bulletin board of an office worker that the deceased had been bullied in the company. The Naver board of directors confirmed workplace harassment through its own investigation and dismissed the perpetrator, but Choi In-hyeok, chief operating officer (COO), who was designated as defending the perpetrator, was criticized for ‘cutting off the tail’ as only a ‘warning’ disposition. Then, the founder himself apologized and seems to have started evolving.
On the 28th of last month, the Naver union demanded the dismissal of COO Choi and the formation of a joint task force between labor and management.
After conducting a self-investigation, many employees raised the issue several times about the perpetrator, but the management, including COO Choi, ignored it. Although COO Choi resigned from his position as an inside director of Naver, he maintained seven positions in other corporations, including CEO of Naver Financial. He is a founding member of Naver and is considered to be the founder’s closest aide.
However, GIO Lee Hae-jin drew a line on additional disciplinary action against the management. “If bullying occurred within the company and it led to a tragic incident, it is a matter of company culture and not a problem that can be solved by disciplinary action against one or two people.” In addition, the GIO wrote in the email that “the fundamental and essential solution is to have younger and new leaders appear and reinvent themselves.”
GIO Lee said, “I want to take responsibility for the company right away, but it takes time to formulate a new structure and appoint the next management. I think the board’s proposal to complete the management system renewal by the end of the year is right,” said GIO.
By Shim Seo-hyun, staff reporter [email protected]