Samsung’s board chairman Lee Sang-hoon, who was convicted and jailed for sabotaging union activities last year, has resigned from behind bars.
Lee Sang-hoon’s resignation comes less than two years after his appointment split the chairman and chief executive roles at the South Korean company for the first time. The roles were split in an effort to improve transparency and independence following a corruption scandal involving Samsung group heir Jay Y. Lee.
According to Samsung, Lee’s successor will be appointed in the near future and his position could be filled by one of the remaining members of the company’s board which is made up of six external directors and three internal executives. The CEOs of Samsung’s components, mobile and consumer electronics divisions are all members of the group’s board.
Lee Sang-hoon’s resignation comes at a time when Jay Y. Lee faces trial on charges that he bribed a friend of former South Korean president Park Geun-hye in an effort to win government favor over succession planning at Samsung.
After facing criticism by a judge overseeing Lee’s bribery case over its lack of an effective compliance system, Samsung and its affiliates recently made the decision to appoint external experts to a new oversight panel in order to eradicate criminal conduct at the company.
Back in December of last year, Lee Sang-hoon was given a one to one and half year prison sentence for sabotaging legitimate union activities, though he has since appealed the court’s decision.
Samsung is expected to hold a shareholder meeting in March at which time we will likely find out who Lee’s successor will be.