Seoul Court Blocks Hybe From Dismissing Ador Label Head Min Hee-jin

Hybe blocked from dismissing Ador label head Min Hee-Jin
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Hybe blocked from dismissing Ador label head Min Hee-Jin
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Photo Credit: Min Hee-jin for Ador

A Seoul court has barred Hybe from dismissing producer Min Hee-jin as CEO of its music label Ador, home of such K-pop acts as NewJeans.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that K-pop giant Hybe lacked evidence and rationale to back the company’s case to dismiss Ador CEO Min Hee-jin. As a result, Hybe cannot exercise its voting rights to remove Min from her position at the company’s shareholder meeting scheduled for Friday (May 31).

“We urge Hybe to respect the court’s decision,” said Min’s attorney in a statement following the ruling. “If Hybe takes any action to remove Min from her position as CEO, it will be in direct violation of the shareholders’ agreement.”

The same attorney also urged Hybe not to dismiss two other Ador directors from their positions at the upcoming shareholders’ meeting.

Meanwhile, Hybe has released its own statement asserting that it will not be exercising its voting rights to remove Min from her position at Friday’s meeting. “We plan to follow up within the framework of the law,” said the company.

The battle between Hybe’s management and Min became public knowledge in April, after Hybe started an internal audit against Min investigating whether she had attempted to seize control of Ador from the company by contacting investors for a potential management buyout. Min has denied the allegations.

Not long after, Min, who owns 18% of Ador shares, held a press event where she said her contract with Hybe, who owns an 80% stake in Ador, was unfair. She explained headquarters had underestimated Ador’s value, and had subsequently discriminated against its K-pop group NewJeans.

Hybe denied the allegations and filed a police complaint to investigate Min for alleged breach of duty; in turn, Min filed the injunction that blocked Hybe from exercising its Ador voting rights during the shareholder meeting on Friday. Both sides staged elaborate campaigns to gain public favor.

But the battle is far from over. Hybe intends to seek other legal avenues for its case that Min sought to take control of Ador, and the police investigation is still ongoing.