“Won’t hand control to children”, Samsung heir Lee apologizes over succession.
SEOUL — Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee, implicated in a bribery scandal, on Wednesday made a rare apology over controversial succession plans and said he would not hand over management rights to his children in the family-controlled conglomerate.
His first public statement in five years came after the Supreme Court in August overturned an appeals court ruling in the bribery case, raising the possibility of a tougher verdict and the possibility of the president of South Korea’s largest conglomerate returning to prison.
“We have, at times, failed to meet the expectations of society. We have disappointed people and caused us anxiety because we have not strictly adhered to the law and ethical standards.”
He also apologized for the behavior of executives caught ruining trade union activities and pledged to guarantee workers’ rights in the tech giant.
Some former and current Samsung Group executives have been investigated or convicted in other cases. For example, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. chairman lee Sang-hoon was jailed in December on charges of subverting union activities. He has now rejected the offer and submitted an application.
Lee’s comments come after Samsung Group’s oversight committee advised him in March to apologize for dealing with succession, labor and other issues, and pledge to prevent any recurrence of governance violations.
In January, Samsung set up a compliance committee after a judge overseeing the li bribery case criticized the conglomerate for not having an effective compliance system to prevent executive branch irregularities.
However, the commission, chaired by a former High Court judge, faced doubts from sentencing experts, who described it as a gesture more aimed at ensuring leniency in the court.
“Both apology and promise are vague. “He did not specifically mention what he did wrong,” said Kim Woo Chan, a professor of finance at Korea University’s Business School.
Jae Y. Lee, vice president of Samsung Electronics, the group’s crown jewel, was accused of bribing a friend of former President Park to win government support over a deal widely seen as the key to succession planning in the bloc.
Lee spent one year in detention but was released in 2018 after the Court of Appeal halved the prison sentence of a lower court and suspended him for three years. This provision was overturned in August.
The CEO, who was wearing a dark suit, said many of the controversies surrounding him and Samsung stemmed from succession issues. “I remember here today that from now on there will be no further controversy over the succession,” Li said.
“I don’t plan on passing my turn to my kids. This is something I have been thinking about for a long time, but I hesitated to express it frankly.”