Things are finally looking better for Fantagio Entertainment. The agency got off to a rough start of 2018 when it lost not one, but two executives in the past six months. Fans of this agency’s artists, including Astro and Weki Meki, are now thrilled to hear a new director has been appointed!
In January of 2018, former CEO Na Byung Joon was dismissed from his position when the Chinese company JC Group, which holds the largest share in Fantagio Entertainment, unilaterally announced that a Chinese CEO, Wei Jie, will be replacing him. This change in leadership was due to budgeting, according to the shareholders.
At the news of Na Byung Joon’s abrupt release from the company, the Korean staff of Fantagio formed a response committee and requested an apology from JC Group for the unfair involvement in the operations of Fantagio Entertainment. The committee even stated there could be a strike if the shareholders and staff cannot come to an agreement.
Fans grew extremely concerned for the agency’s artists, such as Weki Meki, ASTRO, Hello Venus, and Ong Seongwoo.
The scare continued as JC Group cut all funds by blocking all of the agency’s business credit cards. Without access to funds, agency managers and artists had difficulty covering daily expenses such as food and transportation.
This immediately impacted actors Kim Sung Kyun and Kang Hanna who were both in Busan for work. The two artists were severely affected by the cost shunting not only in food and lodging but also in traveling between film sites.
Regarding this, JC Group commented that action was taken to stop executives from spending excessive amounts of money.
“We value the professionalism of Korean entertainers and entertainment companies and the artists of Fantagio. We are going to change the CEO this year by seeking a new breakthrough by improving the budget deficit and strengthening business cooperation with the parent company. We recalled corporate cards due to excessive expenses from some executives. We will soon give new corporate cards to our employees.” — JC Group
Things seemed to be working out okay for Fantagio Entertainment until mid-May, when the representative director Wei Jie unilaterally dismissed Woo Young Seung who was the executive representative of Fantagio Music.
“Fantagio Music is a subsidiary of Fantagio who holds a 95% stake. As of the end of 2017, it is in an impaired capital status with assets of $1.5 million USD, a debt of nearly $8 million USD and net assets of about (-)$6.5 million USD. Fantagio Music is currently not in the position to support the activities of its artists and essential expenses such as tax or utility bills are not being dealt with smoothly. Therefore, Fantagio came to the conclusion that replacing the representative director was urgent for improving the financial structure of Fantagio Music, as well as the rapid and active investment in its artists.” — Fantagio Entertainment
This had an even more direct impact on the agency’s K-Pop artists, as Fantagio Music has been responsible for the company’s music and audio business. Also, this meant neither Fantagio Entertainment nor Fantagio Music held the proper license to run a pop culture and arts business in Korea. With the dismissals of both Na Byung Joon and Woo Young Seung, the agency did not have a licensed executive anymore.
In order to run a pop culture and arts business in Korea, a person with at least 4 years of experience in the business must be listed as the representative or a registered executive.
By this point, fans became extremely concerned. Especially with the legality of the agency in question, it became uncertain how Wei Jie and his new management staff will be handling the artists’ future activities. To respond, Fantagio Entertainment announced that they would be appointing a new, registered director after holding a meeting among the shareholders.
“We plan to actively invest in and support our artists and engage in more activities by recruiting experienced management executives with expertise.” — Fantagio Entertainment
Around the end of May 2018, Fantagio Entertainment had a candidate in mind. The agency made an official statement that revealed Park Hae Sun as the next potential executive director. As the CEO of Box Media Entertainment since 2009 and a former director of KBS’ Entertainment Department, Park Hae Sun has been active in the entertainment business for over 30 years.
Park Hae Sun produced mega-hit TV programs like Yoon Do Hyun’s Love Letter, 2 Days & 1 Night, and Happy Together. He is the ’93 and ’94 winner of the Korean Broadcasting Award and the Baeksang Arts Award.
On June 18, 2018, the agency held a meeting and finally agreed to appoint him the new executive director of Fantagio Entertainment.
This news immediately affected the agency’s stock values. The market seems to be positive about this decision!
With an industry veteran now leading the agency, fans look forward to seeing both Fantagio Entertainment and Fantagio Music get back on track!