Samsung May Dismantle Group Central Office

Samsung Group’s de-facto leader Jay Y. Lee said he’s willing to dismantle the central office that coordinates the South Korean conglomerate’s various businesses.

“If the public and lawmakers have negative perceptions toward it, I will eliminate it," Lee said during a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday of the nation’s tycoons. Still, the billionaire said he’d be very careful about it because it’s an office created by the group’s founder and later maintained by his father.

While South Korean family-run conglomerates typically have a central office to determine group strategy, the practice has long been the subject of criticism by civic activists saying such organizations serve the interests of founding families at the expense of minority investors. Such offices have been dismantled before -- Samsung temporarily did so in 2008 -- only to have them resurface years later.

Lee, who is vice chairman at Samsung Electronics Co., has taken on a bigger role at the group since his father became incapacitated after a heart attack in May 2014. At the hearing, Lee also told lawmakers that he would step aside as the leader if someone better emerges.

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