The Korea Herald


Ex-CEO, cofounder Lee to leave Kakao

By 김영원

Published : Nov. 11, 2015 - 17:52

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Mobile messenger operator Kakao said Wednesday that former co-chief executive Lee Sir-goo would leave the company.

His departure came after the former Kakao co-CEO was indicted without detention last week by the prosecution for neglecting the circulation of pornography on KakaoGroup, a group chatting application.
Kakao’s co-CEO Lee Sir-goo (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald) Kakao’s co-CEO Lee Sir-goo (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

“Lee said he would like to take on new challenges,” said a Kakao spokesperson, adding the former co-CEO is scheduled to leave Kakao this Saturday.

Lee is one of the founding members that turned KakaoTalk into the nation’s most-used mobile messenger, and led Kakao -- the merged firm between Kakao Corp and Daum -- with co-CEO Choi Se-hoon until the new CEO Rim Ji-hoon took over in August.

Lee has served as a top adviser for the company since the helm transition.

During his tenure at the mobile messenger firm from November 2011 to August this year, he had to go through a series of mishaps. He was criticized by the messenger users when he succumbed to requests from prosecutors for censorship, which caused many of the KakaoTalk users to flee to other mobile messenger services.

Kakao has been also bashed by critics for tapping into sectors considered fit for small and mid-sized enterprises, such as chauffeur services.

Kakao board chairman Kim Beom-soo has been accused of gambling in Las Vegas in the early years of Kakao Corp from 2007-2010. Overseas gambling is illegal under Korean law.

By Kim Young-won  (