The Korea Herald


Naver's US webtoon subsidiary appoints new top brass ahead of listing

By Lee Yoon-seo

Published : Dec. 14, 2023 - 16:31

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David J. Lee, the chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Webtoon Entertainment (Naver) David J. Lee, the chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Webtoon Entertainment (Naver)

Naver Webtoon on Thursday said that Webtoon Entertainment, Naver's subsidiary in the United States responsible for the webtoon service's North American business, has made a new addition to its top brass.

David J. Lee has been appointed chief financial officer and chief operating officer at Webtoon Entertainment, according to Naver Webtoon. Upon taking the new role, Lee will be in charge of unifying and overseeing global corporate, financial and operations teams at Webtoon Entertainment, Wattpad and Wattpad Webtoon Studios, Naver said in a press release.

Previously, Lee was CFO and COO at Inevitable Tech (2022-2023), a US-based business-to-business agricultural tech platform and at Impossible Foods (2015-2021), a US-based company specializing in the development of plant-based alternatives for meat products.

Meanwhile, Naver Webtoon added that Kim Yong-soo has been promoted to the position of chief strategy officer at Webtoon Entertainment.

"As CSO, Kim will lead global strategic initiatives, including (merger and acquisitions) and strategic investments and partnerships as the company continues to expand its IP and creator ecosystem around the world," said Naver.

According to Naver, Kim joined Webtoon Entertainment in 2022, where he led the company's global corporate planning, operations, and transformation initiatives.

"The decision to expand its leadership at Webtoon Entertainment seems to be the result of Naver Webtoon's efforts to prepare for its planned listing next year," said an industry source on the condition of anonymity.

"Naver is currently putting its efforts to have the US -- not Japan or any other Asian country -- function as the focal point of its global webtoon business," he said.

The comment comes as Naver CFO Kim Nam-sun said during a conference call in May that Naver was looking to have its US webtoon business go public.

"If the amount of transactions, along with the number of users, grows at the current level and (we manage to) turn to black by the end of (2023), it will be possible to successfully list (Webtoon Entertainment) next year," said Kim.