On the other side of the world is Apple’s arch rival, a nemesis conglomerate known as Samsung. Since 1938, by hook or by crook, Korea’s Lee family has dominated and driven Samsung. The company just did something Steve Jobs would never have done.
All In The Family
To Jobs’ credit, he surrounded himself with seasoned and experienced executives who continued to push his vision of Apple into the future.
Apple is known for having a solid and dependable executive team, and, for better or worse, a team that is now accountable for Apple’s place in the world.
On the other hand, Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 and the Korean family, under his son Lee Kun-hee, continues to control the company’s every move. Unlike Apple, Samsung is a family company, with family executives running various divisions of the conglomerate.
Lee Kun-hee has two daughters, and one of them, Lee Seo-huyn, has been promoted president of Samsung Everland, a Samsung holding company.
Samsung has placed a number of Lee family members into important positions within the company. Would Steve Jobs have done that? Based upon every book I’ve read of Jobs and his history, especially with Apple, in a word– no.
While Jobs undoubtedly had his favorite executives, he recognized that family was a separate entity, hence you don’t see Jobs family members working at Apple. What you do see at Apple is a growing cadre of high caliber executives and managers, experienced and talented, the kind other companies want and need.
Humans seem to have a need for an imperial leadership based on family ties. How else do you explain the many kingdoms of the world. Even in the U.S. there are family dynasties which rule important positions in government for decades (Bush and Clinton come to mind) so what Samsung is doing by placing family members into positions of responsibility has precedent.
That said, can you imagine Steve Jobs’ son or daughters taking over a product line at Apple? No. Jobs life, like that of the Lee family at Samsung, is an open book full of typical human foibles and intrigue. Nepotism doesn’t seem to be part of his equation at Apple.
nepotism |ˈnepəˌtizəm| noun
the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, esp. by giving them jobs.