SEOUL, March 24 (UPI) — Officials at HYBE, the management company for K-pop sensation BTS, had the highest earnings among South Korean business leaders last year, data released Thursday revealed.
HYBE chief producer Kang Hyo-won, known as “P-dogg,” topped the list with earnings of $32.9 million in 2021, followed by HYBE America CEO Yoon Seok-jun with $32.2 million and HYBE chief manager Kim Shin-gyu with $23 million.
Most of the businessmen’s earnings came from HYBE shares as they sold stock options. The Seoul-based label went public in October 2020, becoming the most profitable entertainment company in the country.
P-dogg has been working with BTS since the group’s debut in 2013. He produced several hit songs for the band, including “Boy with Luv,” “Blood Sweat & Tears” and “DNA.”
The group is among the most popular in the world. Last year, their hit “Butter” sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart for 10 weeks.
On the same list, CJ Group Chairman Lee Jae-hyun had the fourth-highest salary with $17.9 million, followed by former Krafton CEO Kim Hyo-sub with $17.8 million.
Krafton is a South Korean gaming company that has produced games such as “PUGB: Battlegrounds” and “Tera.”
SKC President Lee Wan-jae came in at No. 6 with $17.5 million, followed by Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin with $12.3 million, and SK Biopharmaceuticals CEO Cho Jeong-woo with $9.6 million.
Excluding Lee Jae-hyun and Shin, the other three joined the list by exercising their stock options last year.
Shin received remuneration from Lotte Group’s holding company Lotte Corp. and five of its affiliates, including Lotte Chemical and Lotte Shopping.
By contrast, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong did not receive a salary from the tech giant last year.
“I’m skeptical whether a CEO can work for six companies at the same time and receive significant salaries from each,” Seoul-based business tracker Leaders Index founder Park Ju-gun told UPI News Korea.
“I think Lotte Chairman Shin’s remuneration system is not appropriate as it appears to hurt the value held by shareholders. In the United States, such a system would not be accepted by shareholders,” he said.