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Kakao co-CEO resigns after mass breach shuts out 53 million users

Whon Namkoong, CEO of Kakao Corp., speaks during a press conference in Pangyo, South Korea, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. Namkoong resigned after a widespread power outage took out Korea’s most popular messaging and social media service. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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A top executive at Kakao Corp., the operator of South Korea̵[ads1]7;s top mobile messenger KakaoTalk, will step down. His resignation comes after a fire at a data center caused a mass outage over the weekend, disrupting services for the messenger’s 53 million users worldwide.

Co-CEO Namkoong Whon apologized after the blackout and said he would step down.

“I feel the heavy burden of responsibility for this incident and will step down from my position as CEO and head the emergency disaster task force monitoring the aftermath of the incident,” Namkoong said at a news conference at the company’s office on the outskirts of Seoul on Wednesday.

“We will do our best to restore our users’ faith in Kakao and make sure incidents like these never happen again,” he said, according to a CNBC translation.

Namkoong was named CEO in March, according to the company’s website. Kakao reported 47.5 million monthly active users in Korea during the second quarter. That’s more than 90% of South Korea’s population of 51.74 million people, as of November 1, 2021.

Hong Eun-taek, who led the company with Namkoong as co-CEO, will remain the sole head of the company, according to a company filing.

“We sincerely apologize to all those who suffered from the disruption during the power outage,” Hong said as he bowed with Namkoong.

Shares in the company traded 4% higher in Korea’s morning session ahead of the press conference.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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