Samsung CEO Lee Kun-hee’s overseas stay has been extended.
Chairman Lee, who left for Japan on June 20, is still yet to return.
On June 16, Lee summoned the top management, including Samsung Electronics vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong and Samsung Electronics Digital Media & Communications division vice chairman Choi Ji-sung to discuss current management issues.
The business community predicts that his stay in Japan may continue.
Since Samsung Group has not given an adequate explanation for his overseas stay, the story is drawing people’s attention.
The financial circle is speculating that because this year is the company’s 20th anniversary of the “new management,” chairman Lee is meeting with acquaintances and experts abroad and concentrating on plans for the group’s future.
He left for Hawaii on January 11 and returned on April 6 after three months abroad, which included trips to Japan and Hawaii.
During this trip he has so far called Samsung’s top level executives into Japan twice; in February and April for briefings.
Following his return, Chairman Lee, who went to the Samsung Electronics’ Seocho Building once a week, left for America on May 4 to accompany President Park Geun-hye on her visit to the US.
Returning on May 21st, he then left for Japan again on June 20, just one month after his last trip.
He is reported to be staying again in Japan, after moving from there to Paris on June 30 in order to take care of some personal business.
In total, he has been overseas for four and a half months.
During this time, vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong has been acted on his behalf.
It was vice-chairman Lee who greeted President Park Geun-hye when she visited Samsung’s semiconductor plant in Xian, China on June 30.
He has also met key players in the IT industry, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google co-founder Larry Page and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.
James Horton, Honorary Chairman of Corning, is the only figure that Chairman Lee has met with this year.
Many people in the business community think that Mr. Lee’s extended stay overseas is attributable to his health.
There has been lots of speculation that he has remained in foreign countries with good weather in order to avoid cold weather and maintain his health.
Samsung group is putting more weight on his plans for management.
An official with Samsung Group said, “When it comes to health, medical professionals in Korea are superior to those in Japan,” “I don’t know what the exact reason is, but its presumably because his management plans are taking longer than expected.”
Meanwhile, public attention is focused on Samsung’s top in-house legal counsel, Lee Jong-wang, who recently participated in a top management briefing in Japan.
Lee Jong-wang, former chief prosecutor of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, left Samsung in November 2007 after lawyer Kim Yong-chul, formerly head of Samsung Group’s legal affairs team, disclosed details of allegations that Samsung had been operating slush funds. He returned to work as a legal advisor in June 2010.
It is known that Lee Jong-wang has the full confidence of Chairman Lee, and who often seeks his advice regarding legal matters.