Samsung names Lee vice chairman in patriarch’s succession plan

By 윤민식
  • Published : Dec 5, 2012 - 09:44
  • Updated : Dec 5, 2012 - 16:01

Samsung Electronics Co. promoted Lee Jae Yong to vice chairman, putting him a step closer to succeeding his father as leader of the world’s biggest maker of televisions and mobile phones.

The elevation from President and Chief Operating Officer is part of the executive leadership change to lead Samsung’s future growth, the Suwon, South Korea-based company said in an e-mailed statement today.

The appointment puts the 44-year-old Lee in line to take over from his billionaire father Lee Kun Hee, who transformed the former fish exporter into Asia’s biggest consumer- electronics company and helped the stock surge more than 100- fold in his 25 years as chairman. The younger Lee must find new areas of growth while challenging key customer, rival and legal adversary Apple Inc. (AAPL) for supremacy in the $219 billion global smartphone market.

“The promotion of Jay Y. Lee recognizes his outstanding achievements as a leader of innovation and as a change agent, which has led to Samsung becoming one of the world’s beloved brands and to a commensurate rise in shareholder value,” the company said in the statement. “Mr. Lee has also made invaluable contributions to the unprecedented growth of Samsung’s smartphone and TV businesses.”

Lee Jae Yong, who studied at Japan’s Keio University, joined Samsung Electronics in 1991. His roles included chief customer officer and vice president at the strategic planning division.

Customer Relationships

He was promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer in December 2009, and a year later was named president. As chief operating officer, Lee strengthened relationships with customers and business partners and helped solidify Samsung’s chip and display businesses, the company said in a statement then.

Samsung Electronics is the flagship company in South Korea’s biggest industrial group, which generates about 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.

Under Lee Kun Hee, who took over for his father -- the group’s founder -- in 1987, Samsung Electronics surpassed the market values of Hewlett-Packard Co., Sony Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp.

Lee Kun Hee also ended Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s 14-year run as the world’s biggest mobile-phone maker. Samsung shipped about one in every four mobile phones in the third quarter of this year, according to researcher IDC.

Family Dispute

The elder Lee, a lung cancer survivor, is facing lawsuits filed by his older brother and sister in an attempt to win a slice of the family wealth. Their father, Lee Byung Chul, founded the predecessor of the industrial group in 1938 and died in 1987 without leaving a will.

The siblings’ demand for at least an $850 million stake in the group threatens to be a costly distraction at a time of intense industry competition. The civil trial started in May.

The younger Lee’s promotion comes as Samsung Electronics challenges Cupertino, California-based Apple, its biggest customer and its adversary in patent lawsuits on four continents. Samsung earned 7.64 percent of its revenue from selling chips, displays and other products to the iPhone maker.

Samsung reported record profit in the three months ended Sept. 30 amid surging sales of its Galaxy smartphone. More than two-thirds of the earnings were generated by the telecommunications business, according to the company.

Samsung shipped 56.9 million smartphones in the third quarter, giving it a record 35 percent market share, compared with 17 percent for Apple, Strategy Analytics said October. In overall handset sales, including basic types, Samsung remained the top seller, researcher IDC said separately.

Apple and Samsung are also battling in court over patents protecting their devices, with each accusing the other of copying their intellectual property. The companies have traded victories, with Apple winning more than $1 billion in damages Aug. 24 after a jury in San Jose, California, ruled that the South Korean company infringed six of seven patents.

Samsung is attempting to get the verdict thrown out based on claims the trial was tainted. (Bloomberg)

<관련 한글 기사>

삼성전자 이재용 사장, 부회장 승진

삼성전자 이재용 사장이 부회장으로 승 진해 경영 보폭을 넓힌다.

삼성생명 박근희 사장도 부회장으로 승진하고 삼성전자 이돈주 부사장과 미래전략실 임대기•이인용 부사장 등 7명이 사장으로 올라간다. 

삼성그룹은 5일 부회장 승진 2명, 사장 승진 7명, 전보 8명 등 총 17명 규모의 2013년 정기 사장단 인사를 내정해 발표했다.

사장단 인사 규모는 작년(부회장 승진 2명, 사장 승진 6명, 전보 9명)과 비슷한 수준이다.

관심을 모았던 이건희 삼성전자 회장의 아들 이재용 사장은 부회장으로 승진했다.

삼성은 이재용 부회장 내정자에 대해 "글로벌 경영감각과 네트워크를 갖춘 경영 자로서 경쟁사와의 경쟁과 협력관계 조정, 고객사와의 유대관계 강화 등을 통해 스마트폰•TV•반도체•디스플레이 사업이 글로벌 1위를 공고히 하는 데 큰 기여를 했 다"고 설명했다.

특히 "글로벌 경쟁사들이 심각한 경영난을 겪는 어려운 환경 속에서도 최전선에 서 삼성전자의 경영 전반을 지원, 창립 이래 최대 경영성과를 올리는 데 기여했다"면서 "앞으로 삼성전자의 사업 전반을 현장에서 더욱 강하게 지원할 것"이라고 덧붙였다.

이재용 부회장 내정자는 2009년 부사장, 2010년에 사장으로 각각 승진해 이번 인사에서 부회장 승진이 점쳐졌다.

오너일가중 이부진 호텔신라 사장과 이서현 제일모직 부사장은
이번 승진자 명단에서 제외됐다.

박근희 부회장 내정자도 공격적인 영업을 전개하며 시장지배력을 확대한 점을 인정받아 승진이 내정됐다.

삼성코닝정밀소재 박원규 부사장은 사장으로 승진해 삼성코닝의 대표이사를 맡고 삼성중공업 박대영 부사장도 사장 승진과 함께 대표이사를 하게 된다. 

삼성미래전략실의 임대기 부사장과 이인용 부사장도 승진자 명단에 올랐다. 임대 기 사장은 제일기획 대표이사로 옮긴다.

삼성생명의 윤용암 부사장도 승진과 함께 삼성자산운용 대표이사로 이동한다.

이 밖에 삼성전자 이돈주 부사장(삼성전자 무선사업부 전략마케팅담당)과  홍원표 부사장(삼성전자 미디어 솔루션센터장)도 사장으로 올랐다.
사장급 8명에 대해서는 보직 이동이 이뤄진다.

삼성전자 김기남 종합기술원장이 삼성디스플레이 대표이사로, 삼성디스플레이 조수인 OLED사업부장은 삼성전자 의료기기사업부장으로, 삼성전자 윤주화 DMC부문 경영지원실장은 제일모직 패션부문장으로, 미래전략실 이상훈 전략1팀장은 삼성전자 DMC부문 경영지원실장으로 각각 이동한다.

Lee Jay-yong (Yonhap News)