More turbulence in senior Samsung management ranks as Lee family heiress files for divorce

Andrew Sadauskas /

Companies in the Samsung Group could face even more management turbulence after the daughter of chairman Kun-hee Lee, Boo-jin Lee, has filed to divorce her husband of 15 years, Samsung Electro-Mechanics vice president Woo-jae Im.

According to reports from both South Korea’s Yonhap news agency and The Chosun Ilbo, Lee filed for divorce at the Seongnam branch of the Suwon District Court, with Lee seeking custody of the couple’s son.

Boo-jin, who is the chief executive of the Samsung-affiliated Hotel Shilla accommodation group, separated from her partner after her father and family patriarch Kun-hee suffered a heart attack in May.

The Chosun Ilbo reports this has led some people to speculate Boo-jin wants to be divorced before she inherits her share of the family fortune.

The divorce is another unneeded distraction for the Group, with Samsung Electronics recently reporting a 59.65% plunge in third quarter profits to $4.35 billion, amidst intensifying competition and ongoing cancer talks with former employees.

Over recent months, the South Korean conglomerate has been manoeuvring in a bid to allow Kun-hee’s eldest son Lee Jae-yong to retain control of the conglomerate, with the company also restructuring in a bid to lessen the group’s reliance on smartphone sales.

Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.