Wemade (a pioneer South Korean game developer and publisher) announced on July 12th that its CEO Henry Chang exercised his stock options and bought 223,504 shares for an astonishing USD 2.67 million (KRW 3,5 billion) and did not sell a single share. As a result, Mr. Chang’s stake in Wemade reached 1.5%.
Wemade shifted its focus towards metaverse and blockchain technology with an emphasis on developing and servicing well-made games with economically meaningful experiences. As a result, Wemade developed “Wemix”, a game-centric blockchain platform (with 14 Play & Earn titles), that provides services including cryptocurrency wallet, NFT auction & marketplace, staking, and more, based on its utility coin WEMIX.
This is not the first time Mr. Chang has shown his dedication to the firm. In fact, he announced earlier this year his pledge to invest all his present salary and dividends in WEMIX coin. Wemade announced on June 24th that Mr. Chang’s purchase of 13,424.6 WEMIX coins (worth USD 38,125.86) with the salary he received from the same month. This brings his total investment to 51,258.354 WEMIX coins (worth USD 145,573.7). This is also the fourth time he invested his salary in WEMIX Coin, in addition to his dividends from last year.
Mr. Chang has constantly fulfilled his promise to contribute his compensation to the sustainable development of Wemix ecosystem. He also stressed that he does not plan to sell a single share nor a single WEMIX coin.
CEO compensation packages are part of corporate governance mechanisms. Companies often offer their CEOs stock options that tie CEO’s compensation to the company’s stock performance which creates incentives for CEOs to manage the firm and work hard in ways that maximize firm market value.
Often misunderstood, stock options are criticized for inducing top management to pursue strategies that only push the stock price up in the short term. This would benefit opportunist CEOs who time the exercise of their stock options to when the stock price is high and sell their newly acquired shares at a premium.
Mr. Chang is one of the very few CEOs in South Korea to invest in his company’s stock despite very high volatility in the capital markets.
Mr. Chang’s move is highly contrary to a few CEOs who exercised their stock options to sell the shares last year, only six to twelve months after the companies were listed.
In contrast, there are often publicized cases where executives conducted massive selloffs of shares received from their stock options which enraged minority shareholders. The shareholder sentiment is especially strong when it takes place soon after the company goes public and draws a misconnection between the shareholders and the leaders. However, Mr. Chang’s move is exactly the opposite.
Mr. Chang reiterated his engagement in the firm’s long-term success and shareholder value. His dedication and hard work led Wemade to new heights. Recently the company announced USD 131 million in sales revenue for the first quarter of 2022 alone. This represents an astonishing 72% increase compared to last year. MIR4, Wemade’s flagship P&E MMORPG (from the Legend of Mir series) gathered 6.5 million active users within a few months of its global launch in 12 languages and 170 countries. Its successor MIR M topped Google Play’s popularity chart after its release in South Korea in June 2022. The highly anticipated global P&E version will be launched within the year.
Since Mr. Chang’s commitment has no limit, Wemade is expected to continue its winning strike with more achievements in both its video game development and publishing services and its blockchain ecosystem.