SEOUL: Samsung Electronics said Wednesday that Jay Y. Lee, the only son of its current chairman, had been promoted to vice-chairman, paving the way for his eventual succession to the top post.
Lee is the son of Lee Kun-Hee, 70, and grandson of the late Lee Byung-Chull, who founded the giant, family-run conglomerate. As president and chief operating officer for the past two years, Lee has made an “invaluable contribution” to the growth in the firm's smartphone and TV businesses, Samsung said in a statement.
“As vice chairman, Mr. Lee will build on his existing responsibilities and take a broader role in managing Samsung Electronics' businesses,” it added.
The 44-year-old is also credited with building strong ties with the firm's global business leaders and partners. The year-end reshuffle of 17 executives at the company and some other affiliates of the Samsung group is aimed at pushing “continual growth,” the statement said.
Lee joined Samsung in 1991, and was always seen as being groomed for the top post in the company, which accounts for around 20 percent of South Korea's gross domestic product.
Samsung Electronics is the world's biggest technology firm by revenue as well as the world's top maker of memory chips, televisions, smartphones and overall mobile phones.
Lee's father has led Samsung for almost 20 years and was widely credited with turning it into a global brand.