When Han Seong-sook was promoted from vice president to CEO at the Korean search company Naver in 2017, it was a transformational hire.
She was the company’s first CEO, which carries weight given that just 2.6% of CEOs in the country at that time were female. (Today that number is only 5%.)
With a background in tech journalism and a successful startup under her belt, she was also the first non-engineer to lead the country’s largest tech conglomerate, a company she originally joined in 2007.
Under Han's watch, Naver has gone from strength to strength, and Naver’s stock price has almost doubled — boosted by a strong performance during the pandemic.
Han has continued the company’s innovation efforts beyond its core search business. Naver has interests in multiple verticals, including its online-payments platform Naver Pay and its popular online comic Naver Webtoon.
Key to Han’s plans will be the evolution of Naver’s portfolio, with e-commerce platform Smart Store high on the list. Smart Store is home to 350,000 small vendors, and from April to June recorded its highest-ever quarterly sales.