Samsung board chairman Lee Sang-hoon, who was convicted and jailed for sabotaging union activities last year, resigned behind bars.
Lee Sang-hoon's resignation comes less than two years after his appointment for the first time divided the functions of president and chief executive officer of the South Korean company. The roles were divided in an effort to improve transparency and independence after a corruption scandal involving Samsung group heir Jay Y. Lee.
According to Samsung, Lee's successor will be appointed in the near future and his position could be filled by one of the remaining members of the company's board of directors, which is composed of six external directors and three internal executives. The CEOs of Samsung's component, mobile and consumer electronics divisions are all members of the group's board.
Lee Sang-hoon's resignation comes at a time when Jay Y. Lee faces a trial on charges of bribing a friend of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye in an effort to win the government's favor on estate planning at Samsung.
After facing criticism from a judge overseeing Lee's bribery case for his lack of an effective compliance system, Samsung and its affiliates recently made the decision to appoint external experts for a new supervisory panel in order to eradicate the criminal conduct in the company.
In December of last year, Lee Sang-hoon received a prison sentence of one to a year and a half for sabotaging legitimate union activities, although he has since appealed the court's decision.
Samsung is expected to hold a shareholders meeting in March, at which time we will probably find out who Lee's successor will be.