Samsung’s compliance committee said on Wednesday that it had urged the group’s de-facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, to issue a public apology over events related to illegal activities surrounding his succession. The company’s independent watchdog also asked Lee to address problems regarding the group’s labor union policy.
In a statement, committee leader Kim Ji-hyung said that they sent a letter of suggestion to Lee Jae-yong, the de-facto leader of Samsung Group, and each to the seven affiliates of South Korea’s major conglomerate. Through the letter, the compliance committee asked them to create measures that can improve Samsung’s overall business compliance culture in three core issues: the group’s succession plan, labor union policy, and the company’s communication with civic organizations.
The letter also recommended Lee to issue a public apology over past events related to the succession of managerial rights from his father, Lee Kun-hee, to him. The committee, led by former Supreme Court Justice, urged the group to be more forward-thinking on the issues revolving around Samsung, and for Lee to commit not to break the law again.
Events during the succession process included a bribery case and a controversial merger of Samsung’s two affiliates.
Compliance committee leader Kim said in a press release that they required Lee and the seven Samsung affiliates to reply to the letter by April 10.
Lee Jae-yong has been under trial for alleged bribery charges involving the ousted President Park Geun-hye. The court charged Lee in 2017 after giving bribes to a longtime friend of then-President Park. The court saw the bribes as seeking to secure backing to succeed his father and ensure government approval of the controversial merger between two Samsung affiliates, assuring his leadership in the country’s largest conglomerate.
Management-Labor and Civil Society Relationship
Samsung’s independent compliance committee also told Lee to announce the company’s plan to stop its “no labor union” policy and create measures to develop a healthy management-labor relationship.
In December last year, the Seoul Central District sentenced Lee Sang-hoon, Samsung Electronics Co.’s chairman of the board, and Kang Kyung-hoon Samsung Electronics’ Vice President with 18 months of prison each for breaking related laws to labor unions.
In connection to the company’s communication with civic organizations, the committee, which launched in January, advised Lee that he should announce measures that can build social trust.
The committee also suggested that Lee and Samsung’s affiliates to create measures that would guarantee the watchdog’s independence and compliance monitoring activities.
“We hope our recommendations can signal the start of a new history of Samsung to our society.”
-Samsung Compliance Committee