Naver to hand out $132 mn stock option to keep best employees onboard

2019.03.13 14:22:25 | 2019.03.13 14:22:48

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South Korea’s biggest portal operator Naver Corp. struggling not to lose skilled employees amid brain shortage in domestic IT sector has promised 150 billion won ($132 million) worth stock options to employees over the next five years.

According to its incentive program, the Internet giant will provide 837,000 shares to its 637 best-performing employees including executives with the option to exercise their rights when the stock price rises by 1.5 times. They have right to options in 250 million won worth treasury shares each if the price stays above strike price of 192,000 won for 10 days in 2022.

President and CEO Han seong-sook will be entitled to 20,000 shares worth 3.8 billion won, and Choi In-hyuk, chief operating officer, 10,000 shares worth 1.9 billion won. The company will reward the other 2,833 on the payroll the options on 426,000 treasury shares.

Naver Corp.`s President and CEO Han seong-sook이미지 확대

Naver Corp.`s President and CEO Han seong-sook

Naver is expected to book 16.8 billion won this year, 31.5 billion won in 2020, 40.6 billion won in 2021, 34.3 billion won in 2022, and 26.8 billion won in 2023 in operating expenses, according to sources. The extra expense for this year amounts to 1.7 percent of last year’s operating profit.

It is the largest spending for employee incentives in the 20 years-long business history of the company.

Naver recently has lost some of top brains including Song Chang-hyun, chief technology officer doubling as the head of Naver Labs, and Kim Joon-seok, developer who led the development of Naver’s artificial intelligence-based multilingual translation program Papago.

Google has turned aggressive to scout technology experts in Korea, where IT experts make up a small number.

By Lee Dong-in and Lee Ha-yeon

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