Samsung Group’s new corporate strategy office chief Choi Gee-sung enters the conglomerate’s office complex in Seoul on Friday. (The Korea Herald/Kim Myung-sub)
Samsung Group’s new corporate strategy office chief Choi Gee-sung is expected to bring a bundle of changes to the country’s largest conglomerate as he is recognized for his aggressive business tactics.
With the appointment considered to be one of the most notable events in the conglomerate’s history, Choi remained calm and modest on his first day of work as the chief of the firm’s de facto control tower on Friday.
He did not say much, only bowed and asked for a warm welcome to reporters who were waiting for him in the company’s lobby at around 7:40 a.m.
Choi, however, has a number of big issues that he needs to tackle as soon as he gets settled in his position. Such issues include chairman of Samsung Electronics Lee Kun-hee’s inheritance suit with his siblings, the ongoing patent battle with U.S.-based tech giant Apple Inc., and the creation of the post-Lee Kun-hee era.
The naming of a new strategic planning chief comes at a time when its chairman Lee pointed to the need for a “revolution change that could open a new business era” following his three-week long business trip in Europe.
The appointment also takes place 19 years after the chairman declared a new business era to overcome the global financial crisis during his meeting with Samsung executives in Frankfurt, Germany on the same day.
“The Samsung Electronics chief executive was picked for his global mindset in devising business tactics, fast decision-making skills and his ability to efficiently run the organization,” said the group’s chief communications officer Rhee In-yong on Thursday.
Considering that Samsung Group is currently facing severe competition from foreign players, with them keeping the Korean firm in check, Choi’s charisma and strong driving force is projected to help the conglomerate gain an upper hand in going forward with its projects and nurturing future growth engines amid the sluggish global economy, especially in Europe, according to industry sources.
The 61-year-old new chief of staff at Samsung, who was hired back in 1977, is known as a “go-getter” who did not hesitate to travel hundreds of miles to sell semiconductor parts to European electronics firms. He was then serving as the head of Samsung Electronics’ one-person European office.
Choi is also known for his close ties with Samsung heir apparent Lee Jay-yong, guiding the only son of chairman Lee through business operations during his time as CEO of the electronics arm. Lee Jay-yong is currently the chief operating officer at Samsung Electronics.
Buoyed by increasing semiconductor sales figures and his experience in the group’s top secretary office, the vice chairman took over the flagship electronics arm’s television business in 2003.
With Sony far outpacing Samsung in the TV sector at the time, the Korean tech firm rolled out the Bordeaux TV in 2006, taking over the world’s No. 1 spot for the first time following the launch.
He then took charge of the firm’s mobile communications business four years later in 2007, once again grabbing the leading positions in handsets as well as monitors for personal computers.
Since being seated as the chief executive of Samsung Electronics in December 2010, he recently was engaged in the first-ever face-to-face meeting with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook to discuss the ongoing patent battle between the two rivals.