[THE INVESTOR] Harman International, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, will hold its board meeting in Seoul next month as part of its efforts to accelerate cooperation with Samsung on the car infotainment business, according to the company’s chief executive officer.
Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal told The Korea Herald, “I will visit Seoul next month to attend a boardroom meeting,” at IFA 2017 in Berlin on Sept. 2.
Harman CEO Dinesh Paliwal.
The directors of the Harman board include Paliwal himself, Young Sohn, chief strategy officer of Samsung Electronics, Yoon Boo-keun, chief executive officer of consumer electronics at Samsung and Lee Sang-hoon, chief financial officer of the corporate management office at Samsung.
Sohn is the chairman of the Harman board which was formed in June.
After completing acquisition of Harman for about $8 billion in March, Samsung appointed the three Samsung officials as Harman’s board members, an action that was interpreted as starting business exchanges between the two tech titans.
Officially, it is the first time the US-headquartered company’s board meeting will be held in Seoul, home to Samsung Electronics. The two are also moving to speed up their collaboration on the development of an artificial intelligence speaker and supporting ecosystem with an aim to launch next year.
According to Paliwal, a significant level of research work and collaboration is underway to develop the new AI ecosystem between Harman and Samsung.
The Harman CEO held a closed-door meeting with Samsung CEO Yoon Boo-keun for over 30 minutes at Harman’s private exhibition venue established at the tech show held in Berlin from last Saturday through Wednesday.
Although Samsung has said Harman will continue operating the current four major businesses – connected car, consumer audio, professional audio and Internet of Things solution – independently, participation of the top executives of Samsung in the Harman board indicates Samsung’s intention to turn Harman into a real Samsung company.
Samsung’s entry into the autonomous driving business would be another key issue to be discussed at the upcoming board meeting.
A small team has been created, named “Synergy Team” within Samsung, to bridge the two companies, especially focusing on the connected car business, according to a company official.
“Holding the board meeting in Seoul seems to be telling that Samsung is quite much engaged in Harman’s operations,” said a source from the industry. “It could increase market expectations to see co-developed products and services faster than expected.”
Meanwhile, Samsung declined to confirm the schedule for the board meeting, saying that “All information about such a board meeting is not available, and will be disclosed later through regulatory filing.”
By Song Su-hyun/The Korea Herald (email@example.com)