Samsung Chief Apologizes for Succession Fiddle

  • By Shin Eun-jin, Seok Nam-jun

    May 07, 2020 12:22

    Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong apologized on Wednesday for a massive fiddle that allowed him to take over leadership of the publicly traded conglomerate from his ailing father.

    Without offering to surrender his own position, Lee promised to end the hereditary transfer of leadership at some point in the future and scrap the giant conglomerate's union ban.

    Lee made the apology in a nationally televised broadcast at Samsung's headquarters in southern Seoul on Wednesday. "It's my fault. I apologize," Lee said.

    "I will make sure there are no more problems caused by the transfer of management control," he added.

    Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong apologizes during a press conference at the conglomerate's headquarters in Seoul on Wednesday. /Newsis

    Lee is nominally vice chairman of affiliate Samsung Electronics but holds a controlling stake in the conglomerate's Byzantine holding structure.

    In 2017, he was jailed for bribing ex-President Park Geun-hye for facilitating the elaborate cheat, which involved the National Pension Service, so he could take over when his father, chairman Lee Kun-hee, fell into a coma. The sentence was later suspended.

    Lee pledged to appoint capable staff regardless of gender or nationality from now on to lead the conglomerate. "Those talented people must be allowed to take more important positions than mine in leading the business," he said.

    Promising to end the conglomerate's long-standing ban on labor unions, he added, "I also apologize sincerely to everyone who suffered due to problems involving labor unions at Samsung."

    Samsung is also mired in legal troubles over allegations that it intentionally inflated the value of a subsidiary ahead of its public offering in 2016, while the bribery case has been sent back to a lower court.

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