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'Lee's absence adds uncertainty to Samsung,' says Samsung CEO

'Lee's absence adds uncertainty to Samsung,' says Samsung CEO

Posted September. 02, 2017 07:34,   

Updated September. 02, 2017 08:26


Yoon Boo-keun, president of the consumer electronics division of Samsung Electronics, appeared at a press conference on Thursday (local time), one day prior to the opening of the IFA 2017 in Berlin, and expressed his concerns after Lee Jae-young, vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, had been sentenced imprisonment.

It is the first time that Yoon has publicly shared his opinions about Lee's absence. The conference continued for about 80 minutes, and Yoon spent most of the time to talk about the sense of crisis he had to deal with. He often borrowed words such as “terrified" and "scared" in his remarks.

Along with Yoon, Kim Hyun-suk, president of the visual display division, Koh Dong-jin, president of the mobile division, and Suh Byoung-sam, executive vice president of the consumer electronics division, attended the conference. Yoon compared Samsung Electronics, consisted of multiple business divisions, to fleet with many vessels. "I am a captain of just one vessel. Imagine the fleet sailing without a captain of the fleet," Yoon said. "A captain of each vessel cannot make a major investment decision on restructuring or M&A deals."

Yoon explained that each business division is controlled by different presidents, while Vice Chairman Lee is the leader who will head the entire company. When asked if Samsung would be stumbled in the absence of Lee, taking into account its well-designed organization system, Yoon said, "It is hard for a division chief whose expertise is limited to have a vision for the next three to five years and lead restructuring when it is deemed necessary amid enormous changes taking place in the IT industry."

"Fleet can be sunk instantly. We have seen many lucrative companies collapsed," said Yoon. "I have a sense of ownership over my business division. But my sense of responsibility is only one-thousandth the amount of responsibility taken by Lee. Such ownership has built today's Samsung and will continue to remain as driving force going forward."

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com