“My hope is for us to promote mutual growth with society and the country, which was what the founding fathers of Samsung pursued,” Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong told a group of the tech company’s top executives on Nov. 19 at an ceremony commemorating the 32nd anniversary of the death of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul.
Lee also subtly touched upon the adversities Samsung is faced with, such as a downturn in global and domestic economies combined with his upcoming trial. “Let’s try and work together to break out of the box and turn the current crisis we face into an opportunity of the future.”
This marks the first time in three years that the Samsung heir took part in the program. Last year, he was on an overseas business trip, and the year before, he had been incarcerated for his alleged role in the political scandal that led to the ouster of former President Park Geun-hye.
Around 50 CEOs of Samsung Electronics and its affiliates took part in the luncheon following the ceremonies. This was the first time since Lee took office in 2010 that Lee met with all the top executives.
Previously on Nov. 1, Lee had called for mutual growth on the 50th anniversary of Samsung Electronics’ establishment. The comments came as he was meeting with key AI experts such as Yoshua Benjio scientific director of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms and Professor Sebastian Seung of Princeton University for insight on the future path of the world’s largest maker of smartphones.
Reflecting such thoughts, Lee started an academy last year for producing young software experts that recently saw its first 500 graduates. Samsung also said it would be investing KRW 12 trillion to build EUV semiconductor producing lines.
Meanwhile Nov. 22, another hearing for Lee is coming up. In August, the Supreme Court of Kore ordered a retrial after concluding the amount of bribes Lee was accused of providing to ex-President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil had been underestimated in a previous ruling that kept Lee out of jail on a suspended sentence.
Lee had been sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and Choi as a part of efforts to attain government support to solidify his control over the Samsung business empire.
Lee was freed in February 2018 after the Seoul High Court reduced his term to two-and-a-half years and suspended his sentence, overturning key convictions and shaving the bribe total by more than a half.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.