SM Entertainment’s New CEO: Everything You Need To Know About Jang Cheol Hyuk
This week, SM Entertainment finally announced its new CEO: Jang Cheol Hyuk. Who is he, and what could he do for the company? Here’s everything you need to know.
49 years old, Jang Cheol Hyuk has been building his career in business since his college days. He has both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Business Administration from Korea University, and numerous years of experience under his belt.
He spent 13 years working for KPMG and PwC — two of the world’s “Big Four” accounting organizations — later working in global business for health and home brand Bodyfriend. Before joining SM Entertainment, he also served as the CFO of Skin Food and Donga Tanker. During that time, he’s known to have worked on improving and turning around “insolvent” companies: those which are unable to pay their debts.
Jang Cheol Hyuk has now been with SM Entertainment since 2022, previously working as the Chief Financial Officer with responsibilities in accounting, tax, finance, and investor relations.
Back in February, SM Entertainment’s Board of Directors spoke very highly of Jung. At the company’s 28th annual general meeting, they deemed him an “expert” in his field and recommended that he be appointed an inside director (a board member who also works at the company).
The Board of Directors went on to say that Jang Cheol Hyuk “can greatly contribute to the improvement of financial efficiency and investment decision-making for SM 3.0 strategy.”
Jang Cheol Hyuk is recommended as the one leading corporate governance at SM.
— SM Entertainment’s Board of Directors
Now, as of March 31, Jang Cheol Hyuk has been appointed SM Entertainment’s new CEO. According to press statements, Jang was selected for the role because of his strong track record as CFO and his central role in the drive for “SM 3.0”
In case you missed it, SM 3.0 is the company’s plan to “expand the Korean, Asian, and global fandom and respond to changes in the market.” To grow across the world, SM Entertainment plans to create a more cohesive and focused system between all of its operations, from music production to content creation.
All in all, the Board decided that Jung’s experience and performance made him the right person to lead SM Entertainment in such a rapidly changing global environment. He is expected to make the company more financially efficient, make wiser investment decisions, and create strong corporate strategies that will see SM through in the long term.
I feel a great responsibility to assume the position as a CEO when SM is about to take a big leap forward with SM 3.0.
— Jang Cheol Hyuk
So, what does all this mean for fans? Jang Cheol Hyuk gave us the answer in his statement. For starters, the new CEO promised to “faithfully implement the SM 3.0 strategy,” which could have big, positive implications for SM Entertainment artists.
Part of the SM 3.0 plan, for example, is to create a “multi-production system” under the company. Presumably similar to JYP Entertainment’s “division”-based structure, this system would see each SM artist sharing fewer resources and getting more individual focus from management. For international fans, the plan also includes an even biggest push in Japan, Southeast Asia, and the United States, among other countries.
Alongside this, Jang Cheol Hyuk says the ultimate goal is “that SM can become a fan- and shareholder-centered global entertainment leader.” If his word is true, fans of groups like Red Velvet, aespa, NCT, and EXO can hopefully look forward to the leadership that takes their wants and desires into greater account.
We will establish a sound that transparent governance structure and faithfully implement the SM 3.0 strategy so that SM can become a fan- and shareholder-centered global entertainment leader while continuing to communicate closely with our artists, fans, shareholders, and employees.
— Jang Cheol Hyuk
It’s important to remember that many of the decisions that affect artists are not made by the company CEO. Two more of SM Entertainment’s new inside directors (Head of Marketing Kim Ji Won and Head of Global Business Choi Jeong Min), for example, are largely responsible for the marketing, content, PR, and USA expansion for SM groups. That being said, for fans who were unhappy with former CEO Chris Lee, the new management is a welcome change.