Daum Kakao's appointment of 35-year-old Rim Ji-hoon as the company's new CEO on Aug. 10 shows a willingness to restructure the company in line with the mobile era. The company stated that it has nominated the young CEO to "swiftly drive change and innovation in the rapidly-evolving mobile era." Having one CEO will also accelerate the decision-making processes in the company, in contrast with the previous co-CEO system.
Rim worked as a chief consultant at Softbank Ventures before joining K Cube Ventures. Since 2010, he has showed that he has an eye for business, by his investment of 3 billion won (US$2.6 million) in SundayToz, which created the smash hit Anipang. He was also widely acknowledged to have predicted that mobile games would grow exponentially with the advent of smartphones. Since then, the new appointee has succeeded in his investment in the Korea Internet Neutral Exchange (KINX), which was considered to be a hidden champion in the cloud area, and went public on the stock exchange in 2011, as well as social commerce venture firm Lotiple, which was later acquired by Kakao.
Based on these achievements, he was recruited as the CEO of K Cube Ventures by Kim Beom-soo, the chairman of the board at Kakao at that time, who set up the venture capital firm in 2012. K Cube Ventures has cultivated mobile startups with tremendous growth potential. For example, it made an investment in FINCON, the company behind successful mobile game Hello Hero, and Red Sahara Studio, which became famous for action-RPG Eternal Hero. The venture capital firm also invested in Frograms, which developed movie recommendation service Watcha, and interest-based SNS Vingle. In the past, Chairman Kim said, "While talking with Mr. Rim, I got the impression that he is an entrepreneur rather than an investor."
However, experts point out that the industry should continue to pay attention to whether or not Rim, who has primarily made business investments or analyzed companies, will be able to effectively lead a change in Daum Kakao, which has been growing as an IT giant with a 8 trillion won (US$6.8 billion) market cap since its merger last Oct. The company will provide full support for the new CEO after the current co-CEOs resign, but there may be a certain limit to the support. An industry source said, "The man that Kim Beom-soo appointed as a new CEO faces the situation that former employees of Daum are dissatisfied with the company, since the company's organizational structure was recently revamped centered on Kakao."