SM Entertainment founder Lee looks to the future as company appoints new management

Lee Soo-man, the founder and former chief producer of SM Entertainment, said Friday he was moving toward the future in a press statement issued ahead of the company's regular shareholders meeting here, where new management was appointed.

"Today marks the end of an era for SM Entertainment, which was named after me," he said in the statement sent to reporters before the meeting began at the company's headquarters in Seoul.

He said he was "moving toward the future" despite many criticisms of his dream and that K-pop "needs to evolve into global music."

He also emphasized the importance of combining technology and music to contribute to a sustainable world.

An undated file photo of the exterior of the headquarters of SM Entertainment in Seoul

Lee, known as the godfather of K-pop, had a significant influence on managing and training the company's K-pop artists, such as Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee, Red Velvet, EXO, NCT and aespa, before he got into disputes with the company's management over various issues.

He sold his 14.8 percent stake in SM to Hybe, the K-pop company behind BTS, in February after the management announced new business strategies, severing ties with the founder.

In the statement, Lee said he made the trade because he and its chairman, Bang Si-hyuk, shared the same values about combining a sustainable world and music.

However, an intensified weekslong battle with tech giant Kakao Corp. to take control of SM led Hybe to give up its bidding, opening the way for Kakao to become its largest shareholder and expand its entertainment business further.

The shareholders meeting was originally expected to see intense competition between candidates for the next management team proposed by both Hybe and SM's current management. However, as Hybe bowed out of the bid, candidates picked by the current management were appointed.

SM said CFO Jang Cheol-hyuk, Kim Ji-won, head of the marketing center, and Choi Jung-min, head of the global business center, were elected its new inside directors.

They will lead the company's "SM 3.0" future strategies centered on establishing multiple production centers and labels, it added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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