Samsung Announces Lee Jae-yong As Its New Executive Chairman

Samsung new semiconductor r7d facility lee jae yong 2

Lee Jae-yong has been formally appointed as the Executive Chairman of Samsung Electronics. The company’s Board of Directors approved the appointment today after the recommendation by Independent Director and Board Chairman Kim Han-jo. He has been serving the South Korean conglomerate as the Vice Chairman since December 2012.

According to Samsung, the Board approved the recommendation to enable quick and bold decision-making. The Directors cited a need for a leader to steer the Korean behemoth amid global economic uncertainties. Lee taking over as the Chairman will stabilize the company, the Board expects. He will reinforce responsible management at Samsung.

Samsung appoints a new Chairman after two years

Lee Jae-yong is the only son of former Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who died in October 2020. He was expected to take over as the Chairman after his father’s death, leading the chaebol founded by his grandfather Lee Byung-chull. However, Lee Jae-yong was embroiled in multiple legal cases in recent years and couldn’t formally take over the post, even though he was the de-facto leader of the company.


The newly appointed Samsung Chairman served a jail term in a 2017 bribery case involving then-South Korean president Park Geun-hye. He walked out on parole in August last year but as part of parole conditions, he couldn’t formally resume office at the company. He had no direct say in business meetings and could only receive reports from company executives.

All this happened amid an unprecedented semiconductor chip shortage. Since Samsung is one of the biggest stakeholders in the semiconductor industry, Lee’s absence from the office affected its decision-making regarding the problem. Several individuals and business groups, including those from abroad, wrote to the South Korean president asking him to pardon Lee so he could lead Samsung more efficiently.

After almost a year with no formal role at Samsung, Lee finally received a presidential pardon in August of this year. It allowed him to formally resume office at the company and make business decisions. And a couple of months later, he has taken over as the Chairman of the South Korean firm. This isn’t surprising, though. He is the heir to the Samsung Group, after all.


According to Samsung’s press release announcing Lee’s appointment, there will not be any separate ceremony or inaugural speech from the new Executive Chairman. He will be in action straight away. The company just reported its first year-to-year quarterly profit decline in three years.