SEOUL - Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Kwon Oh Hyun on Monday (Aug 28) delivered an official statement on last week's guilty verdict on Lee Jae Yong, the heir-apparent of Samsung Group, urging staff to continue giving their best efforts and wait for the truth to be revealed.
Kwon, whom industry watchers say will help fill the leadership vacuum at South Korea's largest conglomerate, is leading the semiconductor division of Samsung Electronics, the flagship subsidary of Samsung Group.
Kwon has been spearheading the Samsung affiliates since Lee was detained in February, reported Korea Herald.
"Although this situation of uncertainties is regrettable, we should all steadily wait until the truth is revealed," Kwon said in a statement sent to employees.
On Friday, the Seoul Central District Court found Lee guilty of bribery, embezzlement and other charges in a massive corruption scandal that led to the ouster of former President Park Geun Hye. He was sentenced to five years in jail last Friday (Aug 25).
His defence lawyer has filed an appeal, reported Yonhap.
Along with Lee's sentencing last Friday, several former executives were convicted on Friday. Former Samsung Corporate Strategy Office chief Choi Gee Sung and Chang Choong Ki were each sentenced to four years in prison, while two other executives got suspended prison terms.
The younger Lee's absence, according to Bloomberg, could lead to further empowerment of managers such as Kwon, J. K. Shin, who is in charge of mobile products, and Yoon Boo Keun, who runs the consumer appliances business.
"We all need to gather power and wisdom to overcome the unprecedented challenge," Kwon said.
"The business situations at home and abroad are too harsh for us to be mired in shock and confusion."
Kwon added Samsung executives will take the lead in overcoming the crisis, and asked the staff to give their best efforts as well, reported Yonhap news agency.
Some business observers believe that the 49-year-old Lee's grip over the management may continue even when he is behind bars.
During the past six months he was in custody, the company smoothly disbanded the former future strategy office and announced about 30 trillion won in investment plans for the chipmaking business.
Prosecutors earlier sought 12 years against the Samsung heir.
Lee has returned to a detention centre in Gyeonggi province where he spent the last six months in detention.