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Wattpad CEO Allen Lau steps down, takes advisory role at Webtoon

Wattpad CEO Allen Lau is stepping down after 15 years to take up a new executive advisor role at Korean digital comics platform Webtoon.

Allen Lau

The announcement comes a year after Webtoon’s parent company, South Korean tech giant Naver, acquired Toronto-headquartered storytelling platform Wattpad for US$600m.

In the new role, Lau said he will advise the Webtoon family of brands and “apply my experience and skills… alongside my other activities as an investor and board member.”

Since launching the company in 2006 with co-founder Ivan Yuen, Wattpad has amassed more than 90 million readers globally.

While it enjoyed significant success when it was focused solely on user-generated stories, over the past six years it has expanded into TV and film with the launch of Wattpad Studios, which has inked high-profile partnerships with studios, production companies and broadcasters across the globe.

The growth of the company caught international attention and drove a hefty price tag, with Naver finalising its purchase of Wattpad in May last year.

Since the transaction closed, Naver merged Wattpad and Webtoon’s respective studio divisions to form Wattpad Webtoon Studios which Aron Levitz leads as president.

In the year since the Naver takeover, Wattpad has “never grown faster,” according to Lau, who said the future of the company is in capable hands.

“With the Grand Plan in place, it’s the perfect time to pass the baton to Wattpad president Jeanne Lam and Wattpad Webtoon Studios’ president Aron Levitz in leading the team to achieve the vision. With such strong leaders, Wattpad is in great hands,” Lau said.

In addition to his advisory role at Webtoon, Lau will continue as a venture partner at investment firm Two Small Fish Ventures, which he founded with his wife Eva Lau. He is also a board member for the Toronto International Film Festival and tech innovation hub MaRS.

“Calling this a new chapter or the next season would be a misnomer – it’s the final curtain call of my career as a CEO. But I’m not done yet! I’m still at the top of my game. I’m still hungry for more wins. I still want to make an even bigger impact. My new story begins today,” he said.

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