Samsung has appointed convicted heir and de facto CEO Lee Jae-yong to the position of executive chairman. The symbolic move means that the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer will now be led by the third generation of its founding family.
Lee was granted a special presidential pardon in August after being convicted of bribery and embezzlement in 2017. He served two prison terms for bribing a former president.
“The Board cited the current uncertain global business environment and the pressing need for stronger accountability and business stability in approving the recommendation,” the company said in a statement.
The announcement formalizes Lee’s, also known as Jay Y Lee, role, which he has held since 2014. After his father, the late Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee, was hospitalized, he took over. He passed away in 2020.
Since 2012, the 54-year-old has served as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, the crown jewel of South Korea’s largest business conglomerate.
Lee was released on parole from a South Korean prison in August of last year after serving 207 days in prison.
It was slightly more than half of the sentence he received after being found guilty in January.
The office of then-President Moon Jae-in said in a statement that his release was made in the national interest and asked for patience.
“We are well aware that there are supporting and opposing views on Vice-Chairman Jay Y Lee’s parole. The views of the people who are opposed are also right,” it said.
The country’s Justice Ministry stated at the time that the decision to release Mr Lee was made after considering the effects of the pandemic on the South Korean economy and global markets.
He was pardoned a year later by new President Yoon Suk-yeol.
Lee has mostly resumed his public duties as a Samsung executive, meeting with Trump in May in Seoul.
Lee was convicted of bribery, embezzlement, and concealment of criminal proceeds totaling 8.6 billion won ($6 million).
Former President Park Guen-hye was also imprisoned for bribery and corruption in the case.
Lee’s grandfather founded Samsung Electronics, and he has served as the company’s de facto CEO since 2014.
\\(Adapted from NewTelegraph.com)