SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) — The independent compliance committee of Samsung Group on Thursday asked the group heir to come up with more detailed measures that can improve law-abiding culture at South Korea’s top conglomerate after he made a public apology over his controversial succession and labor union policy the previous day.
The committee said the apology from Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the tech-centered empire, was “meaningful,” but it asked him to draw up action plans that can back up his promises.
“It is meaningful that Lee made the announcement by himself following the committee’s advice and showed his commitment to pursue the value of compliance,” the committee said after its meeting in Seoul.
“However, there need to be measures in regards to making a sustainable management system that does not allow breach of compliance duty, the effective guarantee of three fundamental labor rights and regaining trust from civil society.”
Lee, the eldest son of bedridden Samsung Group chief Lee Kun-hee, on Wednesday said that recent problems surrounding the group started from his succession issue and promised that such controversies will never happen again.
Lee’s succession process at Samsung involved a bribery case and a controversial merger of two of its affiliates — Samsung C&T Corp. and Cheil Industries Inc. — in 2015. Legal battles on both issues are still under way.
He also made a surprising announcement that he will not pass on management power to his children, hinting that Samsung will move away from the family-run chaebol system.
Lee then vowed to scrap the group’s “no labor union” policy that has been kept for decades and reiterated that compliance will be a key value at Samsung.
Lee’s latest action was an answer to the compliance committee’s advice in March, which urged him to make a public apology and come up with measures that can improve Samsung’s compliance culture in three areas: managerial succession, labor union and communication with civil society.
The compliance committee, led by former Supreme Court Justice Kim Ji-hyung, was launched in February to monitor whether Samsung’s corporate actions comply with laws and ethics.
It was created after the presiding judge of Lee’s bribery case ordered the conglomerate’s heir to come up with measures to prevent Samsung from committing wrongdoing in a court hearing in October.