September 16, 2014 11:05
Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong on Monday took part in the opening of a research center in southeastern Korea on Monday and accompanied President Park Geun-hye until the end of the event.
This was the second time that Lee was at Park's side at a high-profile event and the first since his father Lee Kun-hee suffered a debilitating stroke.
Industry watchers see the event in Daegu as a signal that Lee junior is about to take over. Until Lee senior's stroke in May, Jae-yong was being groomed to succeed his father.
The ceremony Lee and Park attended marked the opening of an economic complex being built by the government and Samsung on the former site where Cheil Industries, the original parent of the Samsung Group, lending it a certain symbolic heft.
Last month, Lee traveled to the U.S. and Europe on business aboard a new corporate jet the Samsung Group purchased for his father.
A source said Lee Kun-hee and Jae-yong never used the same airplane in order to minimize the risk of both perishing in a crash, "and this is the first time the vice chairman used the chairman's plane."
Lee Jae-yong also met with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach in Nanjing, China last month to extend Samsung's official sponsorship of the Olympics. Previously the elder Lee, a long-standing IOC member, had handled the company's business with the body.
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