The last few months have been rather rough for Samsung. Just as the dust following the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco was settling, the South Korean tech giant found itself in the middle of a corruption scandal in its home country. The company was accused of financially backing a close friend of President Park, Ms. Choi Soon-sil, in exchange for political influence over certain business transactions, including the merger between Samsung C&T and Cheil Industries.
Earlier today, nine of Samsung’s executives attended a parliamentary hearing in Seoul to defend themselves against these allegations. Not surprisingly, the most vocal one of the lot was Jay Y. Lee, the Vice Chairman of Samsung Group and heir of the Lee family which founded the company. Lee started his testimony by vowing to avoid future political scandals, but nonetheless, the Samsung Group leader denied all accusations laid out against the conglomerate. In addition to that, Lee asserted that he will shut down the company’s so-called Future Strategy Office as a direct consequence of the said scandal. Now, this is a rather significant announcement given how this unit of Samsung is informally referred to as the “control tower” of the Seoul-based conglomerate. More specifically, the Future Strategy Office handles everything from acquisitions and mergers to investments and expansions.
The said office funded Ms. Choi’s German company and preferred non-profit organizations, as well as handled the mentioned consolidation of Samsung and Cheil Industries. As Lee explained, the office is now viewed in a negative light by the general public, and he’s adamant to shut it down in response to that sentiment. However, Samsung’s Vice Chairman didn’t go into any details regarding the closure, so there’s still no information on when the Future Strategy Office will be closing down and who’ll be taking over its responsibilities. However, this decision is certainly the first sign of major restructurings at Samsung which Lee announced last month. Unfortunately for the South Korean tech giant, this corruption scandal is bound to be making headlines for at least a few more months given how everyone involved is still denying accusations and the High Prosecutor’s Office doesn’t seem keen on dropping the matter.