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As Naver announces the restructuring of its management system, attention is focused on how the current CXO system will change. It is projected that Naver will disperse responsibilities and authority concentrated on a few C-level executives, while strengthening the independent organization for each business. This will create working level groups and responsible leaders in the forefront of in-house companies (CIC).
Naver will soon form a working-level task force (TF) to restructure the organization and leadership by the end of this year. It plans to share the reorganization process with the Board of Directors and reflect their opinions.
Naver is operated mainly by several representative executives, including CEO Seong-sook Han and Chief Operating Officer In-hyuk Choi (COO). Although Naver has made many achievements, it has also revealed its limitations as the company continued to grow. Naver's Board of Directors pointed out, "While the rapid growth resulted in the expansion of organization size, the speed at which the complexity of work increases has been overwhelming the responsibilities required of the current CXO.
Naver has introduced and been operating the CIC system from 2015, successfully splitting some companies such as Naver Webtoon. CIC independently operates the overall management including business, HR, and finance. After, it created the established the position of responsible leaders at the executive level and assigned middle manager roles in 2019. Responsible leaders account for 3% of Naver's total employees. If Naver reforms its management system, they are highly likely to share more of C-level executives’ responsibilities and authorities. Naver is also likely to consider increasing the number of middle managers who are responsible leaders.
The recent extreme choice of an employee has influenced Naver’s decision to reorganize its structure. On the 25th,Naver held a video conference with its employees led by Dae-gyu Byeon, Chairman of the Board of Directors. Chairman Byeon said during the meeting, “I proposed to the management to transform Naver into an organization where innovation and communication become faster and more active in the field.”
Naver is working hard to amend the situation. It first operated the Risk Management Committee and fired the executive who directly contributed to workplace harassment and issued warnings to other executives on the reporting line. COO In-hyeok Choi will take moral responsibility of this case and step down from all Naver duties, regardless of the decision of the Risk Management Committee, but will maintain positions in subsidiaries such as Naver Financial. CEO Seong-sook Han apologized to all employees through an email, emphasizing "In addition to investigation by the Risk Management Committee, we will take active action if additional problems are found from the ongoing police investigation and special labor supervision."
Although the management directly set out to control the situation, the spark of conflict still lingers. One Naver employee said, “The extreme choice of the employee, which triggered this announcement, is largely attributable to the workplace harassment of the responsible leaders and the top executives who ignored the reporting. Their attitudes matter, as they are granted the C-level responsibilities and authorities.” This means that distributing responsibilities and authorities alone cannot solve the ills. There are also concerns that the strong influence of the existing management will remain despite the restructuring. A startup CEO formerly from Naver said, “The so-called ‘inner circle’ which consists of founder Hae-jin Lee, his aides, and lines of close aides, is the core of Naver’s decision-making. It will be difficult to revamp the structure that has continued for more than 20 years.”

The conflicts with the labor union remain unresolved. Naver's union plans to continue raising the issue by announcing its own investigation results on the 28t.In a recent statement, the union argued, "It has been confirmed that despite the struggles of many members of the organization, including the deceased, due to excessive workload and workplace bullying, the executives and HR system, let alone efforts to improve, have gone beyond condoning and aiding the perpetrators.”

By Staff Reporter Si-so Kim