Samsung Electronics’ Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has pledged he won’t be handing down managerial rights to his children during a public apology he delivered on May 6 – marking the first time that he did so since June 2015 during the MERS crisis.
Touching upon controversial topics such as the method with which Samsung had sought to hand the reins of the company to Lee and the struggle with Samsung’s first official labor union, Lee said his kids won’t be inheriting Samsung.
Lee said in the future, Samsung would be focused on nurturing a next generation of business, and to groom the insight befitting the tech giant. He added that the company would maintain an open policy for pooling talent, saying it was open to all options. The below is the full transcript of Lee’s apology.
Samsung has no doubt grown into a global leader.
Despite that this was owing to the Korean public, we have at times failed you. In fact, we have disappointed you and caused you concern on many occasions. That is because we failed to fully abide by rules and ethics. We also fell short in terms of communicating with society.
Our products and technology may be at the world’s top, but Samsung has still long way to go otherwise. This is all due to our shortcomings, and more specifically, my own shortcomings.
I apologize for this.
It is with a heavy heart that I wish to address some of the key issues surrounding Samsung. First is regarding the succession of managerial control. I have faced a barrage of criticism over the exact method, in particular regarding Samsung Everland and Samsung SDS. As you know, a trial is ongoing regarding bribes Samsung is alleged to have offered in return for government support.
So today, I hope to make it clear that Samsung will never break or even bend the law regarding succession issues. We will also refrain from any activities seen to be morally contradictory. Our sole goal will be to enhance the value of Samsung.
Since my father collapsed in 2014, I have been working hard, but in retrospect, it seems like I cannot say I have been a success. However, there were many valuable lessons learned in my journey. On top of it all, I have attained a vision for the future and the will to mount new challenges.
By channeling our efforts into what we do best via relentless innovation and technology, I hope to dive deep into new growth engines to help our society become better and healthier.
But the rules of the game are changing even as we speak, and competition is intensifying. That means Samsung must stay at the top of its game in order to survive. This is why we will be recruiting all kinds of talent, regardless of gender, age, academic background and even nationality.
That is the kind of responsibility I believe I owe to Samsung, and to society.
On that note, I wish to announce a decision I had made early on in my career. That is, I won’t be handing down Samsung to my children. I have kept it to myself for I thought it would be irresponsible and reckless to utter such things when the company and the economy was at stake, but now, the time seems to be right.
Next, I would to address Samsung’s lack of understanding for changing labor relations. As you know, many Samsung employees are on trial due to related issues. This is my fault, and I would like to extend our most sincere apologies to those who have been hurt by Samsung’s response to labor relations.
Samsung will never again be known as a ‘non-union’ company, and we will follow all the laws and regulations to show proper appreciation and seek harmony with the union.
Last but not least, Samsung will show the utmost respect for the law and for civil society. We will always be ready to listen to criticism and to appreciate the diverse values of our society.
I give you my word that abiding by the law will be one of the key pillars in the Samsung culture. Even after the trial regarding myself ends, we will continue run our internal legal watchdog.
The today for Samsung is the tomorrow that seemed impossible yesterday. Behind it was the hard work and effort from both our employees and the people of Korea. Over the past few months, I was given a wake-up call as to what defines the true class of a nation.
It is defined by the medical staff who sacrificed their own lives to protect the lives of others, the volunteers who helped the community get back on its feet, and all those people out there who tried to give their all during these hard times.
My heart filled with pride at being a part of this country, and it made me look back on my own life. My promise to you today is that we will create a new Samsung befitting the true class of Korea.
The Elec is South Korea’s No.1 tech news platform.