Samsung promotes chairman’s son, shares hit record

Samsung promotes chairman’s son, shares hit record

Seoul: Samsung Group on Friday named Jay Y. Lee, son of its flagship firm Samsung Electronics chairman, as president in a move that could pave the way for the chief operating officer to take over the top job at the world’s biggest memory chipmaker.

The widely expected move helped shares of Samsung Electronics, Asia’s most valuable company with market value of some $120 billion, rise 2.3% to a record high of 879,000 won.

Samsung also promoted Choi Gee-sung, chief executive of Samsung Electronics, as vice chairman as South Korea’s biggest business conglomerate revived its central office last month to tighten its grip over some 60 business units.

“Today’s announcements are aimed at leading the way through the rapid changes of the 21st century," Samsung said in a statement.

“The moves highlight the intention to increase the role of young and innovative executive leadership, while providing impetus to the new growth businesses, to fulfil Samsung’s vision."

Lee, 42, will continue to keep his COO title and Choi will also stay as CEO of Samsung Electronics.

Samsung also promoted Lee Boo-jin, daughter of Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, as president and chief executive of Hotel Shilla.

Shares in Hotel Shilla jumped 4.3% after the announcement.

“There are broader expectations about the new, young generation that will lead the group now. And Ms. Lee in particularly has a very strong track record of achievement at Hotel Shilla," said an analyst who declined to be named.

“However Jay Y. Lee has homework to do here."

The promotion of Jay Y. Lee, the only son of chairman Lee, comes only a year after he was named executive vice president to take a newly created COO title December last year.

Almost as reclusive as his his father, the younger Lee has long been viewed as being groomed to head the Samsung Group, which was founded by his grandfather in the 1930s.

But it won’t be an easy task for Jay Lee to match the performance of his father, who has overseen Samsung overtaking Hewlett-Packard as the world’s biggest technology firm by revenue, reporting record-breaking results every quarter this year, often beating even the most bullish street estimates.