KOREAN INDUSTRIAL GIANT Samsung has appointed Lee Jae Yong, son of chairman Lee Kun Hee, into the vice chairman role to position him for the top job.
Samsung's position as one of the top electronics vendors and the top phone maker means that the leadership of the company is closely monitored. With chairman Hee in the midst of a bitter family feud over a share of his billions, Yong's promotion to vice chairman is being seen as a stepping stone to the top job once his father steps down.
Samsung said, "As vice chairman, Mr. Lee will build on his existing responsibilities and take a broader role in managing Samsung Electronics' businesses. Mr. Lee will continue to play a critical role in transforming Samsung's business model - the set business into one based on a platform and the component business into a total solution provider."
The younger Lee has been working at Samsung since 1991 and has held several senior roles including COO and is reported to already be worth a $1bn thanks to his shares in Samsung. The firm was founded by Lee Jae Yong's grandfather, with his father taking over in 1987 and recognised for having transformed the company into a global powerhouse.
Hee, who is fighting a bitter legal battle with his siblings over a share of his fortune, is 70 years old and it has been widely reported that the firm is trying to find a successor for him. Given the firm's history of keeping the role of chairman within the family and the younger Lee's two decades of service to the firm, he appears to be set to inherit the chairman's job when his father decides to stand down. µ