HYBE Leadership Shakeup: Bang Si-hyuk Out as CEO, Scooter Braun to Lead U.S. Unit

Bang Si-hyuk

Bang Si-hyuk (C), founder of K-pop management agency Big Hit Entertainment who manage K-pop sensation BTS, poses for a photograph with company executives during the company's initial public offering ceremony at the Korea Exchange in Seoul on Oct. 15, 2020.

HYBE, the agency-label home of BTS that was formerly known as Big Hit Entertainment, is firming its North American foothold and changing up its global C-suite.

At the top of the chain, founder Bang Si-hyuk has announced he is stepping down as CEO in order to focus more on production. He’ll remain chairman of the board of directors. Taking over the top spot of HYBE is Park Ji-won, who joined the South Korean company a year ago to head up operations and management.

The company’s state-side subsidiary HYBE America will be led by Yoon Seok-jun and Scooter Braun, who sold his Ithaca Holdings to HYBE in April. The pair will tackle the "important challenge of transplanting the K-pop business model to the U.S. market, from production to nurturing newcomers and marketing," according to the announcement.

HYBE's purchase of Ithaca married the two companies' diverse range of services, including management, labels and publishing, for a deep roster that includes K-pop supergroups BTS and Seventeen, and U.S. pop stars Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.

Braun will continue to lead Ithaca Holdings, the parent of SB Projects and Big Machine Label Group, while also acting as co-CEO of HYBE America. Jaesang Lee, who led HYBE’s acquisition of Ithaca, will be moving to the US as Braun and Yoon Seok-jun's chief operation officer.

Over in Japan, HYBE is establishing a new regional division, HYBE Japan, that will be led by CEO Han Hyun-rok. The subsidiary will focus on signing local talent (a new boyband will be introduced soon) and managing the interests of other HYBE artists.

"This leadership improvement is a reflection of our strong will to take the lead in overall systemic change from leadership to realizing our mid- to long-term business strategy to become a global company," HYBE said. "With the goal of leading aggressively, we have reorganized the scope of powers and responsibilities according to the expertise of each leader."