Samsung faces leadership crisis

Samsung, South Korea's largest conglomerate is facing a leadership crisis and that its image was tainted following the resignation of its chairman Lee Kun-hee over corruption charges, a top Samsung executive said.

An Associated Press report further quoted Lee Soo-bin, chairman of Samsung Life Insurance saying that 'now, Samsung faces a complex crisis as it has no captain and rudder, and each affiliate should independently survive fierce competition for its existence.'

He also said Samsung's brand image both at home and abroad was bruised from the high-profile special counsel probe into the group.

Chairman Lee stepped down in April after 20 years as chief of Samsung Group after he was indicted on tax evasion and other charges, the Associated Press report also said.

Lee Soo-bin told affiliate chiefs that all group members should make more efforts to overcome the current difficulties with 'new determination and sense of responsibility,' according to the statement.

Samsung Group has interests in dozens of businesses including electronics, shipbuilding and construction. Its companies account for up to 20% of South Korea's exports, by some estimates. Samsung Electronics, its flagship corporation, is a world leader in computer chips, flat-screen TVs and mobile phones.

Earlier this week, Samsung abolished its Strategic Planning Office, a key body that coordinates Samsung's Group companies and has been a lightning rod for critics of Samsung Group's management structure. Samsung has also reshuffled top group executives in the wake of the corruption scandal.