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From Fashion Icon to Business Tycoon: Lee Seo Hyun’s Comeback to Samsung

Lee Seo Hyun returns to management after six years
Strategic Planning Executive at Samsung C&T
Founder of ‘8 seconds’

Source: Samsung C&T

News has emerged that Lee Seo Hyun, the third child of the late Samsung chairman Lee Kun Hee and the Samsung Welfare Foundation director, is returning to management after a hiatus.

Samsung C&T recently held a management committee meeting and recruited Lee as their Strategic Planning Executive. As of the first of this month, it has been reported that she has started working at the Samsung main building in Taepyung-ro, Seoul.

This marks her return to work after approximately six years since stepping down from frontline management at the end of 2018.

Source: Condé Nast International

Samsung C&T created the Strategic Planning Executive position just before recruiting her. She is expected to oversee brand enhancement strategies across the company’s four sectors: construction, trade, fashion, and resorts.

Some analysts believe she has chosen a challenging role for a typical professional manager and can only be performed by a family owner. This is because the company’s sectors have significantly different characteristics, and each professional manager is responsible for their business.

She will retain her positions as director of the Samsung Welfare Foundation and chair of the Leeum Museum operation committee, only stepping down from overseeing social contribution activities at Samsung Global Research.

Source: Online Community

Lee graduated from Seoul Arts High School and the Parsons School of Design in the US. She joined Samsung 2002 as head of the Cheil Industries fashion research lab.

She has held various positions at Samsung, including executive in charge of business planning for the fashion division of Samsung Everland, executive in charge of business strategy at Cheil Worldwide, executive in charge of business planning for the fashion division of Samsung C&T, and president of the fashion division. She had been somewhat withdrawn from frontline management since her tenure as president of the fashion division at Samsung C&T.

One of her notable projects is the SPA brand ‘8seconds’. She oversaw this brand from the planning stage to grow it to be on par with Japanese brands ‘Uniqlo,’ Spanish ‘Zara,’ and Swedish ‘H&M.’

Source: 8seconds

She set a goal to make it the best SPA brand in Asia and penetrate the Chinese market, using the number ‘8’. In 2016, she established a corporation in China to expand there officially.

However, it failed to make significant strides, being overshadowed by existing famous SPA brands. Furthermore, its competitiveness declined as SPAO, launched around the same time by E-Land Retail, dominated the SPA market. The brand suffered losses until 2018 due to China’s THAAD retaliation, when Lee stepped back from management.

However, in 2022, 8 Seconds turned a profit for the first time in ten years since its launch. At that time, rumors of Lee’s return had surfaced.

Source: Online Community

Meanwhile, Samsung C&T is the de facto holding company of the Samsung Group. As of last year, it holds the top position in the group’s corporate governance structure, owning 19.34% of Samsung Life Insurance and 5.01% of Samsung Electronics, playing the role of Samsung Group’s control tower.

The construction division maintains the top ranking in contract orders, while the resort division operates Everland, the largest theme park in the country. The trade division is developing product trading and project discovery related to chemicals, steel, energy, and materials.

The largest shareholder is Lee Jae Yong, chairman of Samsung Electronics, with a stake of 18.26%. Lee Seo Hyun follows him with 6.28%, Lee Boo Jin, president of Hotel Shilla, with 5.63%, and Hong Ra Hee, former director of Leeum Museum, with 0.96%.{vi59}

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