Samsung CEOs gather for banquet

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Samsung CEOs gather for banquet

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Jay Y. Lee, Lee Boo-jin, Lee Seo-hyun

Jay Y. Lee, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Boo-jin, CEO of Hotel Shilla and Lee Seo-hyun, CEO of Cheil Industries and Cheil Worldwide, attended a CEO banquet accompanied by their spouses on Monday, filling the void left by the hospitalized chairman and their father, Lee Kun-hee.

It was the first time that the three siblings of the Samsung family all attended the banquet for newly appointed CEOs, which is held annually at Hotel Shilla in Jangchung-dong, central Seoul.

According to the nation’s largest conglomerate, all Samsung Group CEOs attended the dinner. It was the first official event held by Korea’s top chaebol this year, and drew attention from businesses that were curious what the vice chairman would talk about at the dinner.

About 150 members of the press gathered in the lobby of Hotel Shilla at around 5:50 p.m. on Monday when the three younger Lees appeared.

It was the first time that the three have appeared in public together since Chairman Lee was hospitalized in May.

The banquet began at 6 p.m. with Jay Y. Lee’s toast to the Samsung CEOs, who were seated at separate tables.

At the banquet, Lee reportedly called for the promoted executives and CEOs to contribute to creating a new Samsung in their leadership roles.

The choice of wine, which has been always drawn the public’s attention, was reported to be the French E. Guigal Gigondas. It costs about 50,000 won and is from the same company as E. Guigal Condrieu La Doriane, which is known as “Lee Kun-hee’s wine.”

The banquet was the final part of the new executives’ training.

Samsung Group training for the 253 new directors and executives was held for five days and four nights at the Samsung Human Resources Development Center in Yongin, Gyeonggi.

Samsung’s training program for employees promoted to leadership positions is known to be very intense. The group reportedly teaches basic attitudes and etiquette to new executives.

It was reported that they had just finished a two-hour training program before arriving at the banquet on Monday.

Vice Chairman Lee has been in charge of Samsung Group’s major events since May. After keeping a low profile last year, Lee is expected to take a more visible management role this year.

Samsung used to hold a ceremony to honor its top employees during a New Year banquet to welcome the new presidents of each affiliate, which was held on Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s birthday on Jan. 9.

But the birthday event was not held this year.

BY KIM JUNG-YOON, SOHN HAE-YONG [kjy@joongang.co.kr]
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