Kakao co-CEO resigns after fire incident that caused mass outage • TechCrunch


Whon Namkoong, Kakao’s co-CEO, has resigned after a fire at SK C&C’s data center in southern Seoul caused major outages over the weekend and disrupted several Kakao services, including couriers, rides, payments, banking and gaming.

Namkoong, who joined Kakao in 2015, was promoted to co-CEO in March. At a press conference on Wednesday, Namkoong apologized for the blanket outage for “such an extended period” and said he felt a “heavy burden of responsibility” over the incident. He added that the company will do its best to restore the trust of users.

Cocoa said this morning he got back Additional services such as Kakao mail and TalkChannel. Most of its services are almost fully working, while some are still partially disabled.

KakaoTalk is the most popular messaging app in South Korea, reaching over 47 million of the country’s 51.7 million residents every month. The app is also used by government officials and businesses, including banks, mass transit services, and payment players.

Eun-Taek Hong, Kakao’s co-CEO, who led the company along with Namkoong and currently leads Kakao’s emergency work team, will remain the company as Kakao’s sole president, according to the company filing.

South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol said Monday that KakaoTalk is practically a national communications infrastructure. Cocoa shares tumbled on Monday, but recovered slightly after Namkong announced her departure.

Analysts at Bernstein said in a report this week that Cocoa’s slow recovery process was caused by the company’s lack of company-owned server infrastructure and “heavy reliance” on SK C&C’s data center, which is on fire. They added that Cocoa also did not have a well-distributed backup system.

Hong said at a press conference today that the company plans to invest 460 billion Korean won (about $325 million) to build its own data center from next year, with a goal of completing it the following year.

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