South Korea's Samsung Group heir apparent takes key leadership roles

Samsung Group heir apparent Jay Y. Lee will take over from his father Lee Kun-hee as head of two key foundations, the conglomerate said on Friday, suggesting that a transfer of leadership is underway at South Korea's largest conglomerate. -- PHOTO: B
Samsung Group heir apparent Jay Y. Lee will take over from his father Lee Kun-hee as head of two key foundations, the conglomerate said on Friday, suggesting that a transfer of leadership is underway at South Korea's largest conglomerate. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Group heir apparent Jay Y. Lee will take over from his father Lee Kun-hee as head of two key foundations, the conglomerate said on Friday, suggesting that a transfer of leadership is underway at South Korea's largest conglomerate.

A Samsung Group spokeswoman said Jay Y. Lee would succeed his father as chairman of Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture from May 31.

Samsung insiders say the younger Lee has been acting as key decision-maker at the vast conglomerate which includes smartphone giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd since his father's hospitalisation a year ago.

But the foundation appointments mark the first time he has taken over formal leadership roles from his father, fueling expectations that a generational handover of power will take place in the near future.

"Samsung Life Public Welfare Foundation and Samsung Foundation of Culture expect that new Chairman Jay Y. Lee will succeed Samsung Group's management philosophies and desire to contribute to society, as he understands better than anyone the purpose of their founding," Samsung Group said in a statement.

The Samsung Group spokeswoman declined to comment on when or whether Jay Y. Lee would become chairman of the conglomerate.