Samsung Group has announced its intent to establish a corporate compliance oversight committee as the company seeks to clean up its tarnished reputation following a slew of scandals.
“Our committee will thoroughly monitor legal risks at Samsung’s top management,” Kim Ji-hyung, the former South Korea Supreme Court justice named to head the compliance and oversight committee, said at a Thursday news conference, as reported by the Korea Herald.
Announcement of the new corporate compliance monitoring committee follows criticism made by a Seoul High Court justice who oversaw the October 2018 bribery trial of Samsung leader Jay Lee concerning alleged payments made to South Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-Hye. The judge had ordered Samsung and Lee to improve the company’s compliance program to prevent wrongdoing by its senior executives.
Ji-hyung said the committee would look closely into a broad range of issues, including “bribery, fraud, risky external sponsorship, and illegal internal transactions between affiliates,” as well as “labor issues and management succession.” He said the committee also will monitor the activities of Samsung’s board of directors and its management committees to ensure compliance with the law, as well as potential misconduct at group companies, including Samsung Electronics.
Ji-hyung said the committee will also make recommendations directly to the board regarding the establishment of compliance policies. Both employees and members of the public will be able to report breaches of law to the committee if the allegations concern anyone in a top management role.
“I think Samsung and its top management should be seen separately. People are hostile, cynical, and critical of Samsung’s top management, not Samsung,” Ji-hyung said. “They call for changes in the top management.”
The compliance panel is set to begin work in February and will be comprised of seven members, including two from civic groups, two from academia, and one from Samsung Electronics—Rhee In-yong, former Samsung communications chief. “The basic principles of the committee’s operation will be independence and autonomy,” Ji-hyung said.