Samsung heir apparent's power grows

Samsung heir apparent's power grows

SOUTH KOREA - The key points in Samsung Group's latest personnel reshuffling are the concentration of power to heir apparent Lee Jay-yong and the desire to maintain the status quo.

The so-called "Lee Jay-yong's people" who received promotions included memory business chief Jun Dong-soo, who was named chief executive of Samsung SDS, an unlisted affiliate that may now receive a boost with the move.

Samsung SDS is a leading IT service provider in which Lee Jay-yong holds an 11.3 per cent stake. With the stake, the company can provide much-needed capital for the junior Lee by getting listed when the time comes.

"Contrary to speculation that Jun was demoted, he has actually been given the weighty role of leading an affiliate that's likely to come to the spotlight under Lee Jay-yong," said one industry watcher close to Samsung.

Jun is reportedly being mentioned as successor to vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, who heads Samsung Electronics' Device Solutions unit.

Naming Kim Ki-nam, president and CEO of Samsung Display, as the new head of Samsung's memory business, to succeed Jun, was another decision seen as providing further support for the Samsung heir.

Kim's roots are in memory chips, and he previously served as the head of Samsung Electronics' Device Solutions semiconductor lab, as well as chief of DRAM development under the memory business unit.

The global semiconductor market is expected to grow by 2.1 per cent in 2014 from this year to reach US$297.7 billion (S$374 billion), according to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics.

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