Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, embarked on a business trip to Europe. Last month, he was released in a review by an appellate court for a probation, and then chose an overseas business trip as his first official move after his release.
Samsung Electronics said on March 25, "Vice chairman Lee has left for Europe for the sake of securing new growth engines and meeting with global business partners on March 22."
Vice chairman Lee did not attend all official events such as a board meeting at Samsung Electronics, the groundbreaking ceremony for a semiconductor factory of Samsung Electronics in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province in Korea and a general shareholders' meeting of Samsung Electronics held this month and made the business trip to Europe. So, his trip to Europe is interpreted as urgency in the reestablishment of a global network. In the past, vice chairman Lee concentrated on management of overseas business partners and new market development while letting the Office of Future Strategy and professional managers handle domestic business affairs. However, this vice chairman has been removed from the global management stage for more than a year due to a special prosecutor’s investigation and imprisonment due to the Choi Soon-sil scandal.
In fact, vice chairman Lee was excluded from the next board of directors of Exor in Italy last year. Exor is the holding of the Fiat Chrysler Group (FCA), a global automotive company. It is analyzed that if the vice chairman had not been imprisoned, cooperation among Samsung Electronics, Harman and Exor' would have become concrete as Samsung Electronics is a partner of Haman, a US electric company acquired by Samsung Electronics for nine trillion won.
Vice chairman Lee is expected to review large-scale merger and acquisition (M&A) deals to secure new growth engines as well as restructure Samsung’s global network through this overseas trip. Inside and outside Samsung Electronics, it has been said that M&A candidates have already been selected with vice chairman Lee's final determination remaining.
In addition, vice chairman Lee may have meetings with Samsung’s partners and companies and businesspeople belonging to the vice chairman's personal networks such as Siemens, BMW, Volkswagen, Wallenberg, and Roche.