Samsung Scion Lee Takes Helm Of Korean Technology Empire

Samsung Scion Lee Takes Helm Of Korean Technology Empire

(Bloomberg) — JY Lee of Samsung Electronics Co. has been named CEO of South Korea's largest company, ending a long-awaited bid due to supply chain crises and rising geopolitical tensions affecting the country, the world's largest chip company.

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Samsung said in a statement that the board of directors approved the leadership of the 54-year-old, $250 billion company on Thursday. Although Lee was supposed to take over the position after his father's death in 2020, his promotion has been delayed by a corruption investigation and two prison sentences.

The decision came on the same day his company reported disappointing earnings and warned that it did not expect demand for the technology to rise until the second half of 2023, highlighting the scale of the challenges Samsung faces.

Click here for a live blog post from a Samsung earnings conference call.

The inauguration of South Korean President Yoon Seok-yeol © Bloomberg The inauguration of South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol

This offer formalized Lee's position as the country's top business executive and one of its key economic ambassadors. While the move may not make much of a difference in the short term, given that Lee is already the de facto leader, the official title may temper Lee's efforts to get Samsung more involved in semiconductors and biotechnology.

"We are certainly at a turning point," Lee said in a statement accompanying his appointment. “Now is the time to plan our next step. Now is the time to take action, be bold and stick to our approach.”

ALSO READ: Samsung's Profits Fall As Chip Prices Fall

Lee is ready to lead his grandfather, Lee Byung-chul, through another turbulent period since he founded Samsung in 1938. Major nations, from the US to Europe, have asked Samsung to invest more in its backyards to ensure chips are available. Washington's push to curb China's chipmaking ambitions is forcing more and more allies like South Korea, which relies heavily on Chinese export markets, to choose which side to take.

Immediately, the emergence of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and supercomputers are forcing tech giants to adapt and think strategically in the future.

Why is Samsung's billionaire heir out of prison? Quick launch:

The succession comes after a leadership position has become vacant in the crown jewel of the Samsung Group. Since 2017, Lee has been involved in a bribery and bribery investigation. In August, he received a presidential pardon that allowed him to formally take over the reins of the company. Speaking to the media at the time, Lee apologized to the Korean audience and promised to "start over."

Lee, who has owned an extensive global network for decades under his father's leadership, has become the country's rescue during the pandemic crisis and chip shortage. He played between companies and governments, which helped increase the production of masks and vaccines, as well as greatly expand investments in chips.

Markets expected Lee's return to fuel Samsung's growth through major mergers and acquisitions, as well as accelerate strategic decisions about where Samsung should invest in future technology, increasing shareholder value.

ALSO READ: Samsung's Profits Fall As Chip Prices Fall

Lee holds a bachelor's degree in East Asian history from the country's main school, Seoul National University, and a master's degree from Keio University in Japan. He also studied for his Ph.D. at Harvard Business School, although he did not earn a degree.

The CEO joined Samsung Electronics in 1991 and was promoted to vice president in 2012, citing his achievements in telephony, television, and components, including the partnership with Apple Inc. and Google. Samsung remains the largest seller of phones with Google's Android software.

Lee will take over after his father attained legendary status in South Korea and was responsible for his vision to propel the device maker into the semiconductor and smartphone industry. In the process, Sheikh Lee became the richest and most powerful businessman in the country.

The new chief owns 1.63% of Samsung Electronics and 18.13% of the group's de facto holding company, Samsung C&T Corp, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Lee's fortune is about $5.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Contributed by Mayumi Negishi.

(Updated from the third paragraph of Ai Wali's comment)

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