Koreas CJ ENM Appoints Koo Chang-gun as New CEO

Koo Chang-gun has been appointed CEO of CJ ENM, the entertainment division of South Korean conglomerate CJ Group. He replaces Kang Sung-ho with immediate effect.

Koo was promoted from within the CJ group and, at 50, is regarded as one of its corporate rising stars. He was previously CEO of the group’s global food service and culture company CJ Foodville from 2017. He followed that by taking over as CEO of CJ Oliveyoung, the health and beauty brand that has stores all over South Korea. Prior to joining CJ, Koo was a financial analyst at Samsung Securities.

Kang, who was a lawyer before joining taking up various posts within the CJ conglomerate, is understood to be returning to a role within CJ Group.

“Koo will oversee CJ ENM’s plans for global expansion and accelerate future growth engines to lead a new paradigm in the entertainment industry,” the group said in a statement.

Kang’s tenure saw a rapid acceleration of CJ ENM’s content production capacity, the blow that COVID dealt to the film production and distribution division CJ Entertainment, and overseas expansions. These included: acquisition of a minority stake in U.S.-based Skydance; acquisition of a majority stake in Endeavor Content’s scripted division, since renamed Fifth Season; and purchase of a stake in digital humans software firm Hyperreal.

Kang also recently pointed the way to further overseas growth, appointing a former Fox executive Steve W. Chung as CJ ENM’s global chief growth officer. He is notably based in Los Angeles, rather than Seoul.

CJ’s film unit is riding high since the removal of COVID restrictions on Korean cinemas in May. Its “Confidential Assignment 2: International” has a $49 million box office haul and is poised to become the third biggest film of the year in Korea. It also backed “Decision to Leave” which picked up the directing award for Park Chan-wook in Cannes and has since been selected as Korea’s Oscars contender.

The group has also been behind Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots” and TV series such as “Guardian: The Lonely and Great God” and hit format “I Can See Your Voice.”

CJ ENM shares were up 2.2% at KRW88,600 by mid-afternoon Monday.

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