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10 Best Korean Dramas about Cold-Hearted CEOs

Written by Sera Serinda A

Who wouldn't fall for a kind-hearted, attentive, warm, and perceptive man who also happens to be a handsome and wealthy CEO? In Korean dramas, the male leads often embody these ideal traits. They effortlessly become the dream of many fans, who even fantasize about finding such characters in real life.

However, there's another trend capturing viewers' hearts: the cold, aloof, and sometimes frustrating CEO characters. These dramas gain a special place in the audience's heart, especially when these frosty CEOs start to show their warmer side to the female leads. The romance that blossoms between them becomes something eagerly anticipated.

You can find these intriguing cold-hearted CEO characters in the dramas Showpoiler has compiled. Let's check out what dramas are on the list!

1. Business Proposal

Year 2022
Genre , ,
Cast Ahn Hyo Seop Kim Se Jeong Kim Min Gue Seol In Ah
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One day, Shin Ha Ri (Kim Se Jeong) agrees to help her best friend, Jin Young Seo (Seol In Ah), who wants to avoid a blind date arranged by her family. For a substantial sum of money, Ha Ri decides to impersonate Young Seo and intentionally acts like an arrogant, outspoken woman on the date.

She meets a handsome man, Kang Tae Mu (Ahn Hyo Seop), on the blind date. Surprisingly, Tae Mu finds himself drawn to Ha Ri, admiring her frank and honest behaviour. Realizing the situation is not going as planned, Ha Ri decides to leave the date abruptly.

The next day, Ha Ri is shocked to encounter Kang Tae Mu again, this time at her office. To her greater surprise, she learns that Tae Mu is her new boss, recently returned to Korea to head the company. Eventually, Tae Mu discovers that Ha Ri is actually his employee, not Young Seo as he initially thought.

Contrary to expectations, Tae Mu is not upset by this revelation. In fact, he grows to like Ha Ri, recognizing her intelligence and talent at work. From this unusual beginning, a romantic connection starts to develop between them. Will their love story flourish smoothly?

2. Hotel del Luna

Year 2019
Genre , ,
Cast IU Yeo Jin Goo
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Fans of Korean entertainment surely know IU, a talented singer and actress. She shines on TV in the hit drama "Hotel del Luna," a show with a fascinating story about a hotel for ghosts.

"Hotel del Luna" aired in 2019 and became the most-watched drama on cable TV in South Korea. It revolves around Jang Man Wol (Lee Ji Eun/IU), who runs a luxurious hotel in the Myeong Dong area of Seoul.

Man Wol is trapped in a curse due to a big mistake she made, forcing her soul to serve ghosts in her hotel. Most of the staff and guests are ghosts with unfinished business from their lives. They stay at the hotel to resolve their issues before moving on to the afterlife or reincarnation.

Man Wol feels lonely because of her curse, but everything changes when Chan Seong (Yeo Jin Goo) becomes the new hotel manager. His arrival doesn't just transform Man Wol's life; he also brings better organization to the hotel.

3. What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim

Year 2018
Genre ,
Cast Park Seo Joon Park Min Young
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Park Seo Joon, a well-known actor, stars in the drama "What's Wrong with Secretary Kim" alongside Park Min Young. This show is based on a 2013 novel by Jung Kyun Yoon. It's about a powerful man who faces his first ever rejection from his secretary.

Lee Young Joon (Park Seo Joon) is handsome, successful, and the head of a company. He's used to getting everything he wants.

However, things change when his long-time personal secretary, Kim Mi So (Park Min Young), decides to quit. Even when Young Joon asks her to stay, she says no.

This is the first time Young Joon has ever been rejected, and he's really confused. Determined not to give up, he keeps trying to convince Mi So to stay. But winning her back comes with a cost. As they navigate this situation, they start to grow closer and have feelings for each other.

4. The Master’s Sun

Year 2013
Genre , , ,
Cast Gong Hyo Jin So Ji Sub Seo In Guk Kim Yoo Ri
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When thinking about the perfect Korean drama duo, So Ji Sub and Gong Hyo Jin are top picks. They have amazing chemistry, which is clear in dramas like "Master's Sun" or "The Master's Sun."

The story starts with Joo Joong Won (So Ji Sub), the cold and distant CEO of a big company, Kingdom. Then he meets Tae Gong Shil (Gong Hyo Jin), a company employee with a mysterious vibe.

Gong Shil used to be cheerful, but after a certain event, she becomes moody and starts seeing ghosts, which really bothers her.

Interestingly, whenever Gong Shil gets close to Joong Won or touches him, the ghosts vanish. This leads Gong Shil to ask if she can stay near Joong Won. He agrees, but only if she helps him solve a crime he's involved in. Together, they start an adventure to unravel the mystery.

5. See You in My 19th Life

Year 2023
Genre , , ,
Cast Shin Hye Sun Ahn Bo Hyun Ha Yoon Kyung Ahn Dong Goo
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In 2023, a Korean drama called "See You in My 19th Life" really caught fans' attention. This 12-episode series stars Shin Hye Sun and Ahn Bo Hyun and is about a woman who lives many lives.

Ban Ji Eum (Shin Hye Sun) has an unusual life; she gets to live over and over again. This frustrates her, as not all her lives turn out well. She wishes not to be reborn after her death.

In her 12th life, Ji Eum meets a boy named Mun Seo Ha (Ahn Bo Hyun). They grow very close but later lose touch. Then, in her 19th life, Ji Eum meets Mun Seo Ha again who is now all grown up.

With Seo Ha back in her life, Ji Eum finds new joy and falls deeply in love with him. But what happens next in Seo Ha and Ji Eum's story?

6. I'm Not a Robot

Year 2017
Genre ,
Cast Yoo Seung Ho Chae Soo Bin
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The script of "I'm Not a Robot" was written by Kim Sun Mi and directed by Jung Dae Yoon, who is known for dramas such as "W: Two Worlds Apart" (2016) and "She Was Pretty" (2015). The story revolves around a wealthy man who grapples with unusual allergies and his quest for true love.

Kim Min Gyu (Yoo Seung Ho), a handsome young man and a major shareholder in a financial company. However, his life changes when he suffers from an allergy to humans. This condition makes him isolated and rarely interacts with other people directly.

One day, Min Gyu orders a robot named Aji 3 to a well-known android developer, Baek Gyun (Uhm Ki Joon). Unfortunately, the order ran into problems when a component broke and needed to be repaired.

Immediately, Baek Gyun asks for help from his ex-girlfriend, Ji A (Chae Soo Bin), who inspired the robots he created, to temporarily replace the Aji 3 robot. As she needs the money, Ji A agrees, and finds herself in the strange situation of posing as a 'robot' for Min Gyu until the real robot arrives.

The drama titled "Celebrity" and directed by Kim Cheol Kyu becomes one of the most popular South Korean dramas in 2023. The storyline revolves around the fascinating world of celebrities, social media influencers, and the people who follow and comment on their lives.

Seo Ah Ri (Park Gyu Young) dives into the world of social media as an influencer, utilizing her attractive personality and charming looks to gain instant fame. With wealth, recognition, and a prominent platform, she seems to have it all.

However, as time passes, Seo Ah Ri begins to realize the dark side of her newfound fame. She becomes increasingly aware of the shallowness and toxicity of chasing celebrity status. She witnesses people committing desperate acts, such as buying fake followers, and even getting involved in serious crimes such as abuse, drug abuse, and murder, all in the pursuit of fame.

Feeling overwhelmed by these revelations, Seo Ah Ri decides to expose the harsh realities of celebrity life to the public, hoping to shed light on the truth behind the glitz and glamor.

8. King the Land

Year 2023
Genre ,
Cast Lee Jun Ho Im Yoon Ah
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Gu Won (Lee Junho), the heir to the expansive King Group with interests spanning from King Hotel to distribution and airlines, is at the heart of this romantic drama. It narrates the story of Gu Won falling in love with one of his employees at King Hotel.

Gu Won, known for his handsome features, intelligence, and strong presence, is not quite good at romantic relationships. He is particularly put off by artificial smiles and pretenses. This all changes when he meets Cheon Sa Rang (Yoona of SNSD), whose bright, amiable nature and ever-present smile attract him.

Initially, Gu Won mistakenly believes Sa Rang's constant smiling is a ploy to attract his attention. In reality, Sa Rang is a down-to-earth individual with a dream of becoming a hotelier.

Securing a job at the prestigious King Hotel was a significant challenge for Sa Rang, as she competed against many for the position. Yet, it was her authentic smile and positive outlook that won over the hotel management, earning her a permanent spot on the team. This misinterpretation of intentions between Gu Won and Sa Rang slowly transforms into a romantic connection, setting the stage for a touching tale of love and ambition.

9. Her Private Life

Year 2019
Genre ,
Cast Kim Jae Wook Park Min Young
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In 2007, writer Kim Sung Yeon released a web novel titled "Noona Fan Dot Com". Twelve years later, in 2019, director Hong Jong Chan adapts it into a drama titled "Her Private Life". The drama tells the story of Sung Deok Mi (Park Min Young), an art curator at a gallery who leads a double life for the sake of her happiness.

Deok Mi is not only passionate about her work but also a devoted fan of the band White Ocean, especially one of its members, Shi An (Jung Je Won). She even manages a fan site because she really likes him as an idol.

When Deok Mi's gallery hires Ryan (Kim Jae Wook) as the new director, a retired painter with trust issues, their relationship begins with challenges. However, Ryan becomes interested in Deok Mi's skill and dedication to the art world.

As their love grows, Deok Mi and Ryan navigate the complexities of love in the midst of their professional lives. What does the future hold for Deok Mi, the fangirl turned lover, and her relationship with her boss?

"Secret Garden" is a popular South Korean drama from 2010. Over 20 episodes, it tells the sweet and sour love story of Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won), a stuntwoman, and Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin), the CEO of a fancy department store.

One day, Joo Won's cousin, Oska (Yoon Sang Hyun), asks him to pick up an actress named Park Chae Rin. Instead, Joo Won meets Ra Im by mistake. Ra Im is thrilled to meet Joo Won because he's related to her idol, Oska. This mix-up brings Ra Im and Joo Won closer.

Then something crazy happens as Ra Im and Joo Won switch bodies! This leads to all sorts of confusion. They have to adapt to their new bodies and figure out how to switch back. This wild adventure brings them even closer together.

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