Nexon announced a leadership succession plan where longtime CEO Owen Mahoney will step down in March 2024 and be replaced by Junghun Lee.
That’s a big milestone as Mahoney had been in charge of the online games giant for a decade. He led the company to expansion, despite the fact he was a Westerner in charge of a company with its headquarters in Japan and much of its development staff in South Korea.
The company said its board of directors has unanimously nominated Lee to serve as the company’s next representative director, president and CEO, effective following Nexon’s annual shareholder meeting in March 2024. Lee currently serves CEO of Nexon Korea Corporation and on Nexon’s board.
Mahoney has led the company through a period of growth and global expansion, and will stand for re-election to the Nexon’s board and serve as senior advisor. Both Lee and Mahoney will serve in their current roles until the succession is formally approved.
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As a Nexon veteran with two decades of game industry experience, Lee brings proven leadership and
operational experience. Since January 2018, Lee has served as CEO of Nexon Korea, the company’s largest subsidiary. Between 2008 and 2017, Lee led Nexon’s live operations teams which have sustained and grown the company’s biggest franchises for decades.
Under his leadership, Nexon Korea achieved a 19% revenue compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2022. Also at Lee’s direction, Nexon has successfully launched multiple new products including Dungeon&Fighter Mobile, MapleStory M, Blue Archive and more recently, Dave the Diver.
“I am honored and excited to lead the company into its next generation,” said Lee, in a statement. “Our
strong base of live Virtual World franchises has shown unprecedented growth and stability, our global team of operators and developers is world-class, and our demonstrated commitment to innovation in new game development as well as technology sets us up for a new generation of growth worldwide. This leadership transition comes at a time when Nexon is both stable and positioned for dynamic growth. Our global franchises are delivering steady revenue which we have invested in a powerful pipeline of new games in development that have potential to become global hits.”
Mahoney joined Nexon in 2010 as CFO, overseeing its 2011 IPO, and has led the company as president and CEO since 2014. Under his leadership, Nexon delivered consistent growth in revenue and operating income and the most robust pipeline in the company’s history.
In the third quarter of 2023, Nexon posted its sixth-consecutive quarter of double-digit year-over-year revenue growth.
“Leading Nexon for the last 10 years has been enormously satisfying, and with the company on such solid footing, now is the perfect time to hand over the reins to Junghun,” said Mahoney, in a statement. “Nexon has never been stronger and has significant tail winds. And, our commitment to corporate governance means we have an extremely strong bench of leaders for the next generation. Junghun Lee is one of the most effective and successful executives in the entire global entertainment business, and the perfect leader for the next generation of Nexon’s growth.”
Lee’s successor to lead Nexon Korea will be announced shortly.
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