There was a time when only chaebols (conglomerates) could top the list of mega-rich executives in South Korea. Now, all that is changing. After the incredible success of BTS and other artists under the company’s labels, three chiefs at HYBE have been crowned the highest-earning executives in the country this year so far.
Real name Kang Hyo Won, Pdogg is well-known to most dedicated ARMYs. Serving as HYBE’s Chief Producer, the 37-year-old songwriter has been making songs for BTS since the group’s debut album, 2 Cool 4 Skool.
Take a look at the credits of BTS’s biggest hits like “Fake Love,” “Boy with Luv,” and “ON,” and you’ll find Pdogg’s name in the credits. Even when he’s not co-writing, he still works closely with the group, most recently participating in audio engineering and vocal arrangement for “Dynamite,” “Butter,” and “Permission to Dance.”
As such an integral part of BTS’s discography, it should come as no surprise that award-winner Pdogg earns a lot in his role. However, many were shocked to see just how much he earned in the first half of 2021: a staggering ₩40.0 billion KRW (about $34.0 million USD), making him the highest-paid executive in the country.
According to the filings, Pdogg raked in the bulk of these earnings from exercising his stock option after HYBE made its trading debut last October. Just ₩38.0 million KRW (about $32,300 USD) came from his wages, while ₩111 million KRW (about $94,200 USD) came from various bonus payments. Interestingly, despite topping the list, Pdogg doesn’t technically hold an executive position at HYBE.
2. Kim Shin Gyu
Kim Shin Gyu is the Chief Manager of HYBE. Typically, a company’s Chief Manager is the person appointed to manage the organization’s overall operations while improving efficiency and profits.
Like Pdogg, Kim Shin Gyu also reported an impressive income this year from HYBE’s stock option exercise. He finishes the first half of 2021 with ₩27.7 billion KRW (about $23.5 million USD) in earnings, making him the second-highest-paid executive in South Korea.
3. Lenzo Yoon
As the co-CEO of HYBE America, Lenzo Yoon (also known as Yoon Suk Joon) likely has his hands full at the company. He was appointed co-CEO shortly after the company acquired Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings and will be in charge of “localizing HYBE’s K-Pop business model in the United States.”
Yoon Suk Joon was paid ₩23.5 billion KRW (about $19.9 million USD) during the first half of 2021 thanks to HYBE stocks, making him third on the highest-paid list.
For reference, the next highest-earning executive in the country pocketed just around a third of this figure: Bae Jae Hyun, who earned ₩8.10 billion KRW (about $6.88 million USD) in 2021 so far. With that in mind, it’s clear to see just how well HYBE’s artists and endeavors are doing this year.