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Dead Samsung Chair’s Seat Stays Unfilled In Exec Reshuffle

Samsung’s chair position remains vacant after a minor reshuffle, with vice chairman Lee Jae-yong still facing two trials that could see him return to prison.

Lee’s father, Lee Kun-hee, died in October after a 2014 heart attack he never fully recovered from. Though Lee Jae-yong has in practice run Samsung since his father’s hospitalisation six years ago, the outcomes of the two trials – one relating to a 2015 merger that allowed him to take more control over Samsung, and the other for a bribery scandal involving impeached former South Korean president Park Geun-hye, for which he has already served a year in prison – are standing in the way of his formally taking over the top job.

Lee Kun-hee, former chair of Samsung.

The reshuffle has promoted three new presidents for Samsung – Lee Jae-sung, head of digital appliances; Lee Jung-bae, head of memory; and Choi Si-young, head of foundry – while co-CEOs Kim Ki-nam and Koh Dong-jin have kept their jobs.

Lee Jae-yong’s bribery trial is set to have its final hearing in the Seoul High Court this month.

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