Samsung has officially announced the dissolution of the Future Strategy Office (FSO), the de facto control tower of the nation’s largest conglomerate that was set up by late Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull in 1959.
From now on, the “Samsung Group” will no longer exist, since it was more a nominal term referring to the control tower office that has overseen key business decisions and government affairs across affiliates with no stakes in any of them. Each affiliates will be operated independently, while three key affiliates — Samsung Electronics, Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung C&T — may continue to play a leadership role.
Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung, known as “Samsung No.2 Man”, offered to resign, along with President Chang Choong-ki. Choi, former Samsung Electronics CEO and it was expected that Samsung will make their exit from the company official in March. But it seems that South Koreans want to end this scandal sooner and announced the dissolution of the FSO in the last day of February.
The office’s dissolution comes amid growing speculation that Samsung has been involved in the influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye and her jailed friend Choi Soon-sil.
The Samsung heir was arrested earlier this month on charge of bribery. He is suspected of ordering his aides to offer some 43 billion won (US$36.30 million) worth of bribes to Choi in return for favors in Samsung’s pending leadership transfer to a new generation, including the government’s backing of the 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates.