Major shuffle at Samsung

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Major shuffle at Samsung

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From left: Lee Seo-hyun, Kim Young-ky, Kim Jong-ho

Lee Seo-hyun, the youngest of three third-generation siblings of the Samsung Group’s owning family, climbed the corporate ladder in a characteristically stylish way yesterday. She joined the prestigious presidents’ group within the country’s top conglomerate on the same day Samsung Everland completed the acquisition of the fashion business Lee built up at Cheil Industries.

As a president of Everland the 40-year-old Lee, a graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, will have a bigger stage to grow her signature business. Lee holds 8.37 percent of the shares in Samsung Everland, the group’s de facto holding firm.

Samsung announced yesterday a presidential reshuffle, promoting eight executive vice presidents including Lee. Five other executive vice presidents were from Samsung Electronics, but only two of them enjoyed promotions within the group’s flagship company. The other three were dispatched to three other affiliates as the group aimed to spread Samsung Electronics’ “success DNA” across the group.

Many manufacturing affiliates, with the exception of Samsung Electronics, failed to impress this year. Samsung Engineering, for instance, posted more than 1 trillion won ($945.3 million) in operating losses through the third quarter. Some electronics-related subsidiaries also struggled, including Samsung SDI, which posted a 29.1 billion won operating profit in the third quarter, down 66 percent from a year earlier.

It wasn’t much better for Samsung Everland, which posted 1.53 trillion won in sales for the first half of this year, putting it on track to only match last year’s sales of just over 3 trillion won. In an effort to boost efficiency, Samsung Everland decided last month it will focus on three industries - construction, fashion and resorts - while spinning off or transferring building management and catering services.

A key to the company’s transformation will be Lee, who joined Samsung Group 11 years ago. She served as an executive vice president at Cheil Industries for three years, where she started climbing the ladder as a general manager.

“Despite a difficult business environment, [Lee Seo-hyun], as a fashion expert, has improved the value of the fashion brands [of Cheil Industries] and paved the company’s path to success by securing new growth engines such as fast fashion and outdoor fashion,” the group said in a statement.

Yoon Joo-hwa, CEO of Cheil Industries’ fashion division, also moved to Samsung Everland, where he will help Lee, now as a fellow president.

Kim Bong-yung, president and CEO of Samsung Everland, remains the head of the company, but his role will be somewhat changed. He has also been made head of the resorts and construction divisions.

Lee Boo-jin, Lee’s elder sister, who also has an 8.37 percent share of Samsung Everland, keeps her title at the company as president of management strategy. It is the first time the two siblings have shared a title at a Samsung affiliate. Their brother Jay. Y Lee, the heir-apparent of the empire and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, is the biggest shareholder in Everland with 25.1 percent.

In other appointments, Kim Young-ky, who played a crucial role in the commercialization of wireless communications standards such as CDMA and WiBro, was promoted to president of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics, where he previously was an executive vice president.

Kim Jong-ho, formerly executive vice president of the Global Production Technology Center at the electronics giant, was promoted to head the center while getting another title of president of the company’s Set Production.

Park Dong-gun, executive vice president of Samsung Display, was promoted to head the world’s largest display maker after helping Samsung Electronics turn out the world’s first curved smartphone, Galaxy Round, in October.

Cho Nam-seong, previously executive vice president of the LED business at Samsung Electronics, is now president and CEO of Cheil Industries. Won Gee-chan, executive vice president of Corporate Human Resources at Samsung Electronics, will be president and CEO of Samsung Card. Lee Seon-jong, executive vice president of Corporate Finance and Accounting at Samsung Electronics, was promoted to president and CEO of Samsung Venture Investment.

Ahn Min-soo, executive vice president of Financial Business Strategy Team at Samsung Life Insurance, will be president and CEO of Samsung Fire and Marine Insurance.


BY MOON GWANG-LIP [joe@joongang.co.kr]

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