SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung Electronics Co. promoted its chairman's only son to vice chairman, putting the 44-year-old closer to the top leadership position at the world's largest maker of memory chips, mobile phones and TVs.
Samsung, South Korea's largest industrial conglomerate, announced Jay Y. Lee's promotion to vice chairman just two years after he was named president. He assumes his new post Wednesday.
Samsung said in a statement that Lee, who was also chief operating officer, had contributed to the growth of its smartphone and TV businesses.
Lee, a graduate of Seoul National University of Korea and Keio University of Japan, is a grandson of Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull and the oldest child of current chairman Lee Kun-hee, South Korea's wealthiest man.
Lee's work has involved building Samsung's relationships with suppliers and other companies it does business with while his reclusive 70-year-old father focused on mapping out big picture strategy for the group.
The promotion was surprising because candidates in South Korea's Dec. 19 presidential election have been stepping up their pledges to curb the power of chaebol, the family-controlled conglomerates that operate a wide range of businesses from retailing to consumer electronics and heavy industries.