Samsung’s Lee cracks whip on unit

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Samsung’s Lee cracks whip on unit

Samsung Electronics’ chairman, Lee Kun-hee, was furious over corrupt activities discovered in an audit of a Samsung Group affiliate and demanded an end to all improper behavior.

The nation’s largest conglomerate, Samsung Group, said yesterday that a recent internal audit on Samsung Techwin, a unit in charge of defense industries, transportation, surveillance, power systems and semiconductor components, found corrupt activities among employees.

Lee delivered a strong reprimand, resulting in the resignation of Samsung Techwin’s CEO, Oh Chang-suk.

Although group officials didn’t reveal details, it said employees were found guilty of improper conduct but not illegal activity.

“Chairman Lee strongly criticized the situation for damaging Samsung’s clean corporate culture, which has been a point of pride for a long time,” said Rhee In-yong, senior vice president of Samsung Group, during a press briefing.

“The chairman also said that he has worries about whether the audit process was properly conducted, and whether punishments of wrongdoers have been appropriate.”

Samsung Techwin is one of the nation’s largest defense contractors, with about half of its 3.2 trillion won ($2.9 billion) in sales in 2010 from the defense industry. It makes the K9 selfpropelled howitzer, which has had a troubled past.

In 2009, both Samsung Techwin and its subcontractor were accused of raking in large profits by inflating the cost of producing the guns. K9s have also been found faulty, including during the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year, when several artillery guns failed and couldn’t be used to fire back at North Korea.

While some analysts expected the problems described by the chairman to be related to the K9, Rhee said during the briefing that they didn’t.

After the recent trouble, Lee said that the group’s auditing unit will be separated and strengthened with more qualified personnel to keep Samsung clean.

He warned of global companies that were wiped out overnight due to complacence and corruption.

“Samsung Techwin’s CEO offering to resign was a sign of showing responsibility as head of the company and for the wrongdoings of employees, although he had nothing to do with the recent incident,” said a Samsung Group official.

Industry analysts said the problem must have been significant because Samsung’s CEOs don’t quit over minor mistakes.

Lee has been reporting to work at Samsung Electronics’ headquarters in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul, on Tuesdays and Thursdays to tighten up the running of the group. Lee doesn’t usually engage with the press.

Samsung officials said the Samsung Techwin wrongdoers will be punished and that the subsidiary will announce a new CEO soon.

By Jung Seung-hyun []

한글 관련 기사[연합]
이건희 "삼성 전체에 부정부패 있다"
전 계열사 감사 및 인적쇄신 예고이건희 삼성전자[005930] 회장은 9일 삼성 그룹 전반에 부정부패가 퍼져 있다고 지적했다.

이에 따라 임직원의 '일탈행위'가 경영진단 평가 과정에서 적발돼 오창석 사장이 곧바로 사표를 낸 삼성테크윈뿐 아니라 삼성 전 계열사에 대한 광범위한 감사와 인적 쇄신이 뒤따를 것으로 보인다.

이 회장은 이날 오전 8시께 서울 서초동 삼성전자 사옥에 있는 집무실로 출근하는 길에 로비에서 기자들과 만나 '그룹 계열사에 대한 대대적인 인적 쇄신을 염두에 두고 있느냐'는 질문에 "삼성테크윈[012450]에서 부정부패가 우연히 나와서 그렇지 삼성 그룹 전체에 퍼져 있는 것 같다"고 말했다.

그는 그 원인으로 "과거 10년간 한국이 조금 잘 되고 안심이 되니깐 이런 현상이 나오는 것"이라고 진단하고 "나도 더 걱정이 돼서 요새 바짝 이를 한번 문제 삼아볼까 하는 것"이라고 설명했다.

'구체적으로 어떤 부정부패를 얘기하느냐'는 물음에 이 회장은 "부정부패엔 향응도 있고 뇌물도 있지만 제일 나쁜 건 부하직원을 닦달해서 부정을 시키는 것이다. 자기 혼자 하는 것도 문제인데 부하를 시켜서 부정하게 하면 그 부하는 나중에 저절로 부정에 입학하게 된다"고 강조했다.

이 회장은 전날 서초사옥에서 열린 수요 사장단 회의에서 삼성테크윈 임직원의 부정과 관련해 김순택 미래전략실장을 통해 "삼성의 자랑이던 깨끗한 조직 문화가 훼손됐다. 부정을 뿌리 뽑아야 한다"고 강하게 질책했고, 오 사장이 관리 책임을 지고 즉석에서 사의를 표명했다.

그는 "각 계열사에 대한 감사가 제대로 이뤄지지 않은 것 아니냐. 대책도 미흡하다"며 "해외 잘나가던 회사들도 조직의 나태와 부정으로 주저앉은 사례가 적지 않다"고 지적했다.
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