Samsung shareholders approve heir apparent’s board membership

Samsung formally appointed heir apparent Lee Jae-yong for a seat on the company’s board of directors about a month ago. Currently the vice chairman, he also happens to be the son of ailing Samsung Chairman Kun-Hee Lee and is widely believed to take on a more prominent role in one of the biggest companies on the planet before eventually being elevated to his father’s position. An extraordinary general meeting of shareholders was called by Samsung on the very same day it announced its third quarter financial results. The meeting was attended by nearly 400 people including individual shareholders and institutional investors.

Shareholders approved Lee Jae-yong’s board membership through a show of hands. He is the first member of the Lee family to join the board in nearly eight years so it’s a significant moment for the company as well as Samsung’s founding family which still maintains a tight grip on the conglomerate despite its single-digit ownership stake. As a member of the board, the heir apparent will have sway over top management and strategic decisions which include but are not limited to asset sales, restructurings and mergers.

One of the biggest challenges the younger Lee faces immediately is an open proposal by activist investor hedge Elliott Management that’s calling for Samsung Electronics to be split into two, add independent directors and even dole out a special dividend of $27 billion to shareholders. Market analysts suggest that the scion is going to speed up restructuring efforts at the company, his plans for Samsung will only become evident once he starts making some big decisions.

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