Samsung’s deputy billionaire chairman, who is the son of former chairman Lee Kun-hee, made the announcement at a press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.
“I don’t plan to leave my role to my children,” Younger Lee, also known as Jay Y. Lee, told reporters.
“This is something I have been thinking about for a long time but are hesitant to express it openly. That is because not only is the business environment difficult, but I feel irresponsible to talk about succession issues when I myself have not been properly proven yet,” he added. His father became paralyzed from a heart attack in 2014.
Samsung is South Korea’s largest conglomerate. Its combined business is estimated to reach around 15% of the entire country’s economy. Samsung Electronics, the largest part of the group, is the world’s leading smartphone maker and an important supplier of memory chips and display screens.
Lee on Wednesday acknowledged that Samsung “failed, sometimes, to meet people’s expectations.” He discussed some of the controversies that companies have faced in recent years, including disputes about the formation of trade unions and his own criminal court.
“It’s my fault,” Lee said. “I offer my sincere apologies.”
The executive’s statement came after Samsung’s independent compliance committee advised Lee to apologize for handling succession and manpower.
Lee’s comments came just days after Samsung warned investors about growing challenges for its business.
– Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.