Angry shareholder lashes out at Samsung chairman over lavish spending and private jet rides

Samsung chairman Lee Kun HeeREUTERS/Steve MarcusSamsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee

Samsung’s 73-year old chairman Lee Kun-hee has been in a coma since May, but shareholders won’t give him a break.

During Samsung’s annual shareholders’ meeting Friday, a man who only identified himself as “Shareholder no. 1814” stormed at Lee for his lavish accommodations and use of private jets on his frequent overseas trips in the past, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The shareholder argued that that money should have been spent on the company’s employees instead. “Chairman Lee probably won’t be able to spend all of his money during his lifetime,” he said with a sense of mockery.

Samsung’s vice chairman and co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun didn’t spent much time arguing, quickly dismissing it as “inappropriate,” the report said.

This shareholder’s frustration with Chairman Lee may sound like a bit of a stretch, but it’s not hard to see where it’s coming from. Samsung’s latest earnings was a huge disappointment, and its outlook doesn’t stoke much optimism either.

Samsung in 2014 saw its first decline in sales in nine years, while earnings from its mobile division dropped 64% year-over-year in the latest quarter. Its mobile division, in particular, has been a major point of concern as its being squeezed by both Apple’s iPhones on the high-end, and Chinese upstart brands from below.

But Samsung is hoping its latest flagship smartphone, Galaxy S6, will revive its sales. The S6 has received some positive reviews, and the company has been making a strong push towards the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile payments, features that can improve the mobile experience.

In August 2014, Samsung acquired SmartThings, a company focused on connected devices, for $US200 million, and just last month, it bought the mobile payments company, LoopPay, for an undisclosed amount.

Samsung shares were up 0.69% to 1.45 million won as of Friday’s closing. That’s roughly an 8% increase since revealing Galaxy S6 on March 1.

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