The Korea Herald


Ailing CJ chairman relinquishes more board memberships

By Suk Gee-hyun

Published : March 12, 2015 - 19:37

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CJ Group chairman Lee Jae-hyun has decided to quit from the boards of two officiates after taking similar steps last year, sources said Thursday.

Lee, who was convicted of embezzlement and tax evasion, will quit his posts at its delivery unit CJ Korea Express and retail arm CJ OliveNetworks this month, the sources said.

The move is expected to weigh heavily on the entertainment and retail conglomerate, which has been struggling to deal with a leadership vacuum and failed investment plans.
Lee Jae-hyun. (Yonhap) Lee Jae-hyun. (Yonhap)

Lee already gave up his seats at three of the conglomerate’s affiliates last year ― CJ E&M, CJ CGV and CJ O Shopping.

This leaves the chairman as board member of only two firms, the group’s holding company CJ Corp. and its main food subsidiary CJ CheilJedang.

“The chairman’s board membership at the remaining two companies will be maintained until they expire at the end of March 2016,” a CJ Group official was quoted as saying.

Lee’s departure from the boards of the two companies came shortly after he asked the court to prolong the suspension of his imprisonment, citing poor health.

The chairman’s lawyer said Wednesday that “Lee’s health deteriorated rapidly since last year,” claiming that going into custody could be fatal.

The Supreme Court suspended the detainment of Lee for four months until March 21, after an appeals court sentenced him to three years in prison for tax evasion and embezzlement of some 160 billion won ($150 million).

Lee suffers from Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a neurological disorder that runs in his family. Lee’s sister and CJ Group vice chairwoman Lee Mie-kyung is also under treatment to slow the disease’s development. Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is characterized by progressive muscle weakness, particularly in the arms and legs.

By Suk Gee-hyun (