SME’s internal politics mess goes public with allegations of unilateral decisions & reports of a ‘shocked’ Lee Soo Man

SM Entertainment recently announced plans for what they’re calling ‘SM 3.0’ in a video posted to YouTube and hosted by the company’s co-CEOs, Lee Sung Soo and Tak Young Joon. There’s a lot that’s talked about regarding the plans moving forward, but the relevant part to know is it essentially cuts founder Lee Soo Man and his system out of the picture in favor of utilizing a more diversified approach.

The response to this from the public and employees has generally been good, and it did what it was supposed to in terms of giving shareholders confidence about the company’s future, with stock prices jumping after the announcement.

While it seemed like an official changing of the guard with Lee Soo Man resigning, now it seems to have led to internal company strife being revealed, as it’s reported that long-time SME artist Kim Min Jong complained in an e-mail sent to the company about the Lee Soo Man ouster, essentially accusing the co-CEOs of orchestrating a coup of sorts.

Kim Min Jong claimed, “Unlike their previous words that they will make the best decision for the SM family, co-CEOs Lee Sung Soo and Tak Young Joon unilaterally issued such an announcement without any internal discussion.”

“SM Entertainment needs producer Lee Soo Man’s senses, and we should respect Lee Soo Man, who has pledged his whole life to the founding and expansion of SM Entertainment.”

Kim Min Jong continued, “I don’t understand why they made such a drastic decision over the national Seollal holidays and I believe there has to be an ulterior motive in proposing salary negotiations to all departments except for Lee Soo Man’s office of secretary. I don’t think this new plan will neither benefit the SM family nor shareholders in the long term.”

Dramatically, the story says Lee Soo Man is shocked by the events.

It was reported Lee Soo Man is currently in a state of shock after the sudden announcement of the board cutting ties with him on the 3rd. He has been out of the office since the announcement and reportedly is considering voicing his opinion during the shareholders’ meeting next month.

Well that’s one side of things, but it seems the plan of the co-CEOs at least has the backing of employees.

In a post an employee anonymously posted on an anonymous community app for the workplace, one said, “As we have entered the 4th generation (idol) era, we have been noticing that neither our agency’s governance nor songs, concepts, and marketing plans are sophisticated enough to be those of a trillion-won-worth corporation.” The employee pointed out, “We should no longer be dwelling on the past glory but stay alert.”

“(Kim Min Jong) sounds like someone who doesn’t know what the employees go through on a daily basis. In any case, (CEOs Lee Sung Soo and Tak Young Jun) are leading (SM Entertainment) to a brighter future.”

Other reported employee comments include, “Mr. Lee Soo Man, please leave while we are applauding you,” while some employees asked, “Who are the shocked artists?”

Considering everything Lee Soo Man has accomplished (and not just with Interpol), it’s understandable that there’s resistance to basically forcibly retiring him, if the claims are true. However, it’s also completely unsurprising to anybody paying attention, because one of SME’s biggest points of contention over the last year or so has been the controversy over the payments SME has been making to Lee Soo Man’s company Like Planning. There’s just no way anybody investing in the company or holding stock is going to be against getting rid of that opaque distraction. And as amusing as it is to watch SME’s political in-fighting play out publicly, the proposed plan does seem to kill two birds with one stone by modernizing their system and also officially putting LSM out to pasture.

Nevertheless, should be interesting to see if this escalates or not, because while it all seems relatively final at the moment, it’s always hard to underestimate the influence of company founders with connections and seniority over everybody.


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Thot Leader™