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Ador CEO Min Hee-jin not leaving Hybe

By Kim Jae-heun

Published : May 30, 2024 - 16:23

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Ador CEO Min Hee-jin speaks at a press conference in Seoul on April 25. (Yonhap) Ador CEO Min Hee-jin speaks at a press conference in Seoul on April 25. (Yonhap)

The Seoul Central District Court, Thursday, upheld a preliminary injunction filed by Ador CEO Min Hee-jin against Hybe on May 7. Hybe, the parent company of Ador, is now not permitted to exercise its voting rights to dismiss Min during the company’s extraordinary shareholders’ meeting scheduled for Friday.

“The material evidence submitted to date does not sufficiently establish Hybe’s alleged grounds for (Min’s) dismissal,” the court ruled.

“It is clear that Min Hee-jin was looking for a way to get NewJeans out of Hybe’s control or to pressure Hybe to weaken its control over Ador, and for her to gain independent control over Ador. However, it is difficult to believe that she has moved beyond the stage of exploring such options to executing concrete action, and while her actions may be treacherous to Hybe, it is difficult to see that they constitute dereliction of her duty to Ador,” the court added.

Min’s PR agency, Macoll Consulting Group, immediately released a statement saying, “The court judged that Hybe’s witch-hunt-style claims, which were recklessly distributed through the media, were not correct. We hope that Hybe will respect the court’s decision.”

In a statement shortly thereafter, Hybe said that it respects the court’s judgment and that it will not exercise voting rights against Min. However, the company will take follow-up actions within the boundaries of the law in the future, the statement continued.

The court's decision came as a surprise as the court was expected to find in favor of Hybe: Min’s attempt to prevent the parent company from exercising voting rights directly violates the basic purpose of the Commercial Act, which protects shareholder rights.

Min also urged Hybe to keep Ador’s two other directors whom the parent company had planned to remove along with Min.

“There is no reason to sack the two other internal directors, just as there is no reason to sack Min. If Hybe removes them, it will be an act that disrespects the court’s decision,” the PR agency said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Ador’s popular K-pop girl group NewJeans, their parents, and 10,000 fans of the group earlier this month signed petitions opposing Min's dismissal.