Samsung promotes Lee's son and heir to vice chairman

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December 5, 2012 11:42 AM EST

Samsung Electronics Co has appointed Jay Y. Lee, the son of its chairman Lee Kun-hee, as vice chairman, Samsung Group said on Wednesday, moving the chief operating officer and president another step closer to the top.

"As Vice Chairman, Lee will build on his existing responsibilities and take a broader role in managing Samsung Electronics' businesses," it said in a statement.

"Lee will continue to play a critical role in transforming Samsung's business model - the set (product) business into one based on a platform and the component business into a total solution provider."

Jay Lee, 44, was thrust into the spotlight in June when then Samsung Electronics chief executive Choi Gee-sung, known to be his mentor, was promoted to lead the entire Samsung group's strategy, a defacto No.2 role within the group to chairman Lee.

Observers said at the time that Choi's move was aimed at preparing a succession plan for Jay Lee.

Samsung Group was founded in 1938 by Lee Byung-chull, Jay Lee's grandfather, as a small trading company and Samsung Electronics which is the jewel in the crown of its vast industrial empire now sells more mobile telephones than any other company.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim)

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Copyright 2012 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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