Stories to show the Samsung Group’s overall business were told during a trial of vice chairman Lee Jae-yong and the former head of Samsung Group’s the Future Strategy Office Choi Ji-sung, which was held on August 2 in connection with the Choi Soon-sil gate. Although it is known via third parties, it is the first time that such information was officially disclosed directly by the top management of Samsung Electronics.
"I always belonged to Samsung Electronics, and 95% of my work involved Samsung Electronics and its affiliated electronics companies." If his father and chairman Lee Kun-hee, had a "fleet-type growth model" that included poorly performing affiliated affiliates, vice chairman Lee had a different approach. Vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong once said, ‘I do not like being the chairman of the Samsung Group for its negative image. I want to be called the chairman of Samsung Electronics,” according to Choi.
"The IT industry is very competitive and makes a change very fast. So it is important to have a structure that can quickly adapt to changes in eras and technologies. If Samsung Electronics is tied up as a holding company, it will face big limits such as maintaining shareholding percentages in selling and buying business. Samsung Electronics’ conversion into a holding company will hamper its survival, transformation and growth,” vice chairman Lee said. "I neither thought about setting up an intermediate financial holding company nor received a report about it. I will not implement acts to hand over Samsung to my next generation."
It seemed that to vice chairman Lee, Samsung Life will have the most difficult business environment among financial affiliates of the Samsung Group. "If the population drops due to the aging of people, life insurance companies will face the worst business environment among financial companies," he said. "Since Japanese life insurance companies with similar population and economic conditions are facing difficulties, I was told that we needed to devise fundamental measures and ask the Financial Supervisory Commission about a switch to a financial holding company."
Choi also revealed a story connected to a past regime. "Chairman Lee Kun-hee made an improper remark during the former Lee Myung-bak administration and suffered a bitter insult," Choi said. “Reporters asked chairman Lee Kun-hee to evaluate economic policies of the Lee Myung-bak administration, Lee casually said that their grade is a little higher than a failing mark which led to a tax audit of Samsung Electronics and a lawsuit against inheritance,” Choi explained.” In fact, shortly after the chairman's remarks in 2011, Samsung Electronics had to undergo an intensive tax investigation and pay a tax of tens of billions of won.