The decision by Exor, the company behind Italian carmaker Fiat, to nominate Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong to its board is “linked” to chairman John Elkann’s “clear determination to develop close relationships” with other family businesses.
That’s according to a spokesman for Exor, who told CampdenFB that the nomination of Lee, who heads fellow family business Samsung Electronics, is part of Elkann’s efforts to establish links between his family – the Agnellis – and “other important families in the international business world”. This is something Elkann has been focusing on for five years, he said.
“The idea is that by sharing issues and challenges typically faced by family businesses with other companies, often with different economical and geographical backgrounds, the Agnelli family can draw on lessons of corporate governance and company management,” the spokesman added.
Lee is expected to be voted onto Exor’s 15-strong board as an independent director at the company’s next annual meeting on 29 May. He currently serves as president and chief operating officer at Samsung Electronics, the South Korean electronics giant founded by his father Lee Kun-hee in 1969.
The 44-year-old will be the first representative of an Asian company to serve on the board of Exor, which owns about 30% of Fiat and controls stakes in a number of other businesses including truck company Fiat Industrial and football team Juventus.
However, Lee is not the first family businessman to sit on one of the companies controlled by the Agnelli family. Ratan Tata, chairman of Indian conglomerate Tata Group, was a member of Fiat’s board between May 2006 and April 2012 and Luca Garavoglia, who heads Campari, his family’s drinks company, served as a Fiat director from May 2003 and April 2012.