Samsung toasts newly minted execs at banquet

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Samsung toasts newly minted execs at banquet

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong encouraged newly promoted executives at Samsung affiliates to “challenge and innovate” for the company’s future at a banquet celebrating their new posts on Monday.

His comments are in line with his bedridden father and Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who consistently stressed that the No. 1 conglomerate was in crisis and that employees should never stop challenging.

“Last year was a difficult one in many respects,” he told some 200 executives who succeeded in climbing the corporate ladder to the highest level in an annual reshuffle last December. “You are the real talents, given you were able to come this far after showing excellent performance.”

At the same event one year earlier, he stressed keywords such as change, innovation and challenge. Ever since he was promoted to managing director in 2003, Lee Jae-yong has never missed the annual event.

The banquet, held at Samsung’s Hotel Shilla in central Seoul, marks the end of a five-day training session for new executives, who take part in the banquet with their spouse.

Lee Jae-yong has hosted the event for a second year after the chairman was hospitalized after a heart attack on May 14. The chairman’s second daughter and president of the fashion division at Cheil Industries, Lee Seo-hyun, was also present.

But his first daughter Lee Boo-jin, CEO of Hotel Shilla, did not show up. Last week, she won in a high-profile divorce suit against her husband.

Every detail of the event drew attention from the public and the media as it offers a sneak peek into the top agenda for the tech giant. Some 150 members of the press gathered at the hotel.

Waiters poured a traditional Korean alcoholic drink made of wild black raspberry from Guksundang, instead of wine, to all of the attendees. It is the second year the fruit wine was served.

In the days of Chairman Lee Kun-hee, pricey French wine was served and the brand used to sell like hotcakes throughout the year after its use at the banquet was made public.

As a promotional gift, all of the executives received a Longines wristwatch, which had “Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee” engraved on the back.

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