Visiting the U.S., China, and Europe in succession this year, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is establishing a global network and making brisk management moves.
He left for Europe from Gimpo Airport on his private jet on May 12 in order to attend the board meeting of Italian investment firm Exor. Exor is the holding company of the world’s leading automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Proposed by Fiat Group Chairman John Elkann, a grandson of Fiat's founder, Vice Chairman Lee has served as Non-Executive Independent Director of Exor from May 2012, and was recently reelected.
Before Lee's father and company Chairman Lee Kun-hee collapsed from an acute myocardial infarction last year, he showed great interest in the automobile business in general to the extent that he attended most of the board meetings of Exor. He believes that it is not the sector officially considered to be a new growth engine like biotechnology and health care but still has great potential in the future. Indeed, Vice Chairman Lee has had meetings and maintained a close relationship with automobile tycoons Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen's former chairman in 2012, and Akio Toyoda, Toyota’s former chairman in 2013.
Among the subsidiaries of Samsung Group, at the moment Samsung SDI is intensely fostering the electric car battery as a strategic industry in the future. Also, Samsung Electronics’ technology can be used in various advanced parts in automobiles. As Samsung SDI CEO Cho Nam-seong attended the event to officially launch electric car battery company Magna Steyr, which was acquired last year, as its Austrian corporation, he indirectly showed the intentions of Vice Chairman Lee.