Current Samsung (News - Alert) Electronics CEO, Choi Gee-sung will become the head of corporate strategy at Samsung Group. Choi is widely seen as the force behind Samsung’s rise to lead the world in smartphone and television manufacturing.
The move paves the way for the ascension of Jay Y. Lee, who is the 43-year-old son of current Samsung Electronics chairman, Lee Kun-hee. Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee is currently embroiled in a bitter public battle with members of his family.
Three different lawsuits from three relatives, including Lee’s brother and sister, lay claim to $3.8 billion that, according to the family, Lee inherited and then hid in accounts. As a result of the feud, Lee is working rapidly to turn the company over to his son, who has been groomed for leadership from an early age.
In addition to his work as CEO, Choi has served as Jay Y. Lee’s chief mentor. In his new position at Samsung Group, Choi will teach Jay Y. Lee to look at the company as a whole and not just at the electronics unit.
The new Samsung Electronics CEO will be Kwon Oh-hyun, who is currently the head of Samsung’s components business. During his tenure spent overseeing chips and display, Samsung has grabbed 50 percent market share of memory chips. Also, 40 percent of its semiconductor revenue comes from logic chips.
If Lee’s family members win their lawsuit, then Lee may have to surrender a substantial number of Samsung Electronics and Samsung Life shares. The ownership of the $3.8 billion in assets became awash in dispute with tax officials questioned Lee’s placement of the money into the nominee accounts.
Although Lee was indicted on tax evasion charges, he was eventually pardoned by the president of South Korea. Currently, Samsung contributes about 20 percent of South Korea’s GDP.
Jay Y. Lee is currently president and COO of Samsung Electronics. He is the third wealthiest person in South Korea. Lee Kun-hee tops the list, followed by Chung Mong-Koo of Hyundai.
Edited by Brooke Neuman