Report: Lee Jae-yong likely successor to Samsung Group

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Oct. 26 (UPI) — The vice chairman of South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics is most likely to lead parent company Samsung Group following the death of chairman Lee Kun-hee.

Lee Jae-yong, 52, who also goes by Jay Y. Lee, is best positioned to lead the conglomerate following the death of his father at 78, who transformed the company into a tech powerhouse after being appointed chairman in 1987.

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Lee oversees the operations of Samsung Electronics, Samsung Construction & Trading Corp., and Samsung Life Insurance, Yonhap TV reported Monday.

Lee’s sisters, Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun, are also heirs to the Samsung fortune, but each sibling owns a smaller controlling stake in Samsung subsidiaries, according to the report.

Lee Boo-jin, chief executive of the Hotel Shilla chain, owns shares in Samsung C&T and Samsung SDS, the IT arm of Samsung Group, as does Lee Seo-hyun, head of Samsung Welfare Foundation. Lee Boo-jin has no stake in Hotel Shilla, however, the report says.

South Korea’s National Pension Plan, Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics own the majority of Hotel Shilla’s shares.

Lee Jae-yong also owns a 17.48% stake in Samsung C&T, which could undergo restructuring. The restructuring could prompt Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun to relinquish their shares, according to the report. Lee Jae-yong’s net worth is estimated to be about $7.4 billion as of October, according to Forbes.

The South Korean conglomerate practice of transferring corporate control to family members has drawn criticism in the country, where the powerful companies sometimes ban labor unions and defy recommended practices.

In May, Lee Jae-yong apologized for Samsung’s system of heirs and said his children will not succeed him.

“Samsung has not strictly complied with laws and ethics, and also has been inadequate in communicating with society,” he said during a press conference.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun visited the funeral parlor of the former Samsung chairman on Monday to deliver condolences to the family, MoneyToday reported.