Samsung heir Lee formally takes helm of technology empire Samsung heir Lee formally takes helm of technology empire
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Samsung heir Lee formally takes helm of technology empire

Samsung heir Lee formally takes helm of technology empire

The board approved the 54-year-old’s ascension to the helm of the $250bn company on Thursday

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Samsung Electronics named Jay Y. Lee executive chairman of South Korea’s largest company, finalising a long-anticipated elevation just as a supply chain crisis and escalating geopolitical tensions roil the world’s biggest chipmaker.

The board approved the 54-year-old’s ascension to the helm of the $250bn company on Thursday, Samsung said in a statement. While Lee had been expected to take over the post after his father died in 2020, his ascension had been delayed.

The elevation formalises Lee’s status as the nation’s most prominent business executive and one of its chief economic ambassadors. While the move may not make much difference in the short run given Lee was already de-facto leader, a formal title could smooth Lee’s efforts to guide Samsung deeper into semiconductors and biotechnology.

Lee must also steer the company through one of the more turbulent periods since his grandfather Lee Byung-Chull founded Samsung in 1938. Big nations from the US to Europe are urging Samsung to increase investment in their backyards to secure their supply of chips. Washington’s campaign to curb China’s chipmaking ambitions is increasingly forcing allies like South Korea, which depends heavily on the Chinese market for exports, to pick a side.

More immediately, the emergence of new technology such as artificial intelligence and super computing is forcing technology giants to adapt and think strategically about the future.

The succession comes after a years-long leadership vacuum at the crown jewel of the Samsung group.

Read: Samsung to invest $5bn under plan to tame rising emissions

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