Samsung chief rules out children inheriting control of chaebol

SEOUL — Samsung Electronics chief said on Wednesday that his children will not inherit control of the world’s largest smartphone maker, vowing not to “cause controversies over succession anymore” at the tech conglomerate.

“I will not bequeath corporate control to my children. I have had this in mind for a long time, but have been reluctant to reveal it,” Lee said at an abruptly scheduled press conference. “I will not abuse loopholes in the law in relation to the succession of corporate control, or do anything that can be criticized ethically.”

The announcement comes as Lee, 51, is under investigation over alleged wrongdoing related to his succession of the company from his ailing father, Chairman Lee Kun-hee. Prosecutors are widening their investigation into alleged accounting fraud at Samsung Biologics — the affiliate drugmaker is suspected of inflating the value of its research unit as part of a strategy to smooth the power transition from father to son.

Lee has two children, one adult son and one teenage daughter. He divorced his wife in 2009. 

At the press conference, Lee also said Samsung will decisively invest in new businesses while focusing on innovation and technology within its key sectors. The company is attempting to become a major player in the logic chip industry to add a third pillar to its current memory chip and smartphone businesses.

The vice chairman also said it is hard to predict the future when there is always a crisis facing the company.

Samsung successfully weathered the challenges from the coronavirus pandemic in the first quarter, but analysts say the company will face more serious problems in the second quarter as demand for smartphones and other devices is dwindling quickly.

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