Samsung Electronics Elevates Jay Y Lee As Executive Chairman

Samsung Electronics Elevates Jay Y Lee As Executive Chairman

Samsung Electronics Co. appointed Jay Y Lee as executive chairman on Thursday, reported Bloomberg. Lee, who previously held the title of vice-chairman, is the heir of the Lee Byung-Chull family, founder of Samsung Electronics. Lee has been Samsung’s de facto leader since 2014, when his father Lee Kun-hee fell into a coma after suffering a heart attack.   

The long-anticipated elevation comes as the supply chain crisis and escalating geopolitical tension has ridden the world’s biggest chipmaker. The tech giant “cited the current uncertain global business environment and the pressing need for stronger accountability and business stability,” according to the Bloomberg report.

On Thursday, Samsung reported disappointing earnings and warned it didn’t foresee a recovery in technology demand till the second half of 2023, the report added. 

According to Bloomberg, 54-year-old Lee had been expected to take over the post after his father died in 2020, his ascension had been delayed by graft investigation and two stints in jail. In August this year, Lee was pardoned by South Korea’s president for crimes including embezzlement and bribery.

While the appointement may not make much difference in the short run given Lee was already running the company, a formal title could smooth Lee’s efforts to guide Samsung deeper into semiconductors and biotechnology, Bloomberg report said.

“Without a doubt, we are at a pivotal moment,” Lee said in a statement accompanying his appointment. “Now is the time to plan our next move. Now is the time to act, to be bold and unwavering in our focus.”

According to Bloomberg, from the United States to Europe, all the big nations are urging Samsung to increase investment in their backyards to secure their supply of chips. 

Lee has stepped up as South Korea’s relief pitcher during the pandemic and chip shortage crisis. He played matchmaker between companies and governments, helping ramp up mask and vaccine production as well as a major expansion of chip investments, the report said.

Market hopes that Lee’s return would drive growth at Samsung through major mergers and acquisitions, as well as accelerate strategic decisions on where Samsung should invest in future technology, boosting shareholder value, according to the report. 

Jay Y. Lee owns 1.63 per cent of Samsung Electronics and 18.13 per cent of the group’s de-facto holding company Samsung C&T Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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