Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong’s imprisonment could have long-term implications

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Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong was imprisoned earlier this year on charges of bribery and corruption. He has been sentenced to five years in jail, although he is appealing the sentence. Samsung’s outgoing CEO Kwon Oh-hyun says that while the business is going well today, his imprisonment could have long-term implications for the company.

Kwon Oh-hyun recently announced that he was stepping down from the top job as the company faces a leadership crisis. He has been with Samsung for over 30 years. His term will be over in March 2018 which will mark the end of his career at the conglomerate.

Samsung Heir Lee Jae-yong’s Imprisonment


In a meeting with business leaders in Washington merely days after announcing his decision to leave the job, Kwon Oh-hyun referred to the imprisonment of the Samsung heir as a “tragedy.”

Lee Jae-yong is the only son of ailing Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee. His rise to the top has been hampered by the legal troubles that have also brought down South Korea’s former president Park Geun-hye.

“The business itself is going well today. That means in the short term we have not big impact. But (in the) long term … we need some … chairman’s group’s advice. In that sense, we have some handicaps,” Kwon said at the meeting.

Samsung is trying to plug the leadership gap presumably until the heir can return to take the reins. There have been reports that the control tower structure might be brought back. It will be a central body that controls much of the organizational decisions.

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