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A trait of good business leaders is that however high they rise in the company, they never overlook the organization’s frontline operations. It’s important, even for presidents and CEOs, to understand how low-level employees go about their tasks and the manner in which products are purchased and used.

According to accusations from Korean electronics maker Samsung, though, a senior executive from rival LG Electronics got a little too zealous in his point-of-sale activities when he stopped by a retailer and broke one of Samsung’s display models.

In September, Seong-Jin Jo, president and CEO of LG Electronics’ home appliance division, was in Berlin for a trade show. While in the German capital, he visited an appliance store which had a Samsung washing machine on display.

In footage from the store’s security cameras, Jo can be seen repeatedly opening and closing the door of the machine, which was later found to be damaged. Samsung asserts that Jo’s fiddling with the door was a deliberate attempt to break it, and has filed a complaint with the district attorney’s office in Seoul. The complaint also names four other Samsung employees, claiming disruption of business activities and property damage.

LG fired back with a strong denial. “All companies examine the products of competitors, and President Jo was merely checking the manner in which the door opens,” the company said in a statement. “We wouldn’t have one of our executives travel all the way overseas for the purpose of damaging a specific company’s products.”

▼ Although “International Corporate Appliance Assassin” is now rocketing up the ranks of our dream job list.

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Not only is LG claiming innocence, the company has counterattacked with a complaint to the district attorney of its own, contending that the accusations made by Samsung constitute defamation. LG doesn’t believe this is any sort of honest mistake, either.

“In the video given by Samsung to the Korean media, Samsung employees can be seen pounding on a washing machine repeatedly,” LG claims. “If this is the same washing machine Samsung claims was broken by President Jo, then this is a case of tampering with evidence,” which is the second offense on LG’s legal complaint.

Jo had been scheduled to attend January’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Korean authorities say they will require his presence as part of the ongoing investigation, however, and on December 22 media outlets reported that the LG president has been temporarily barred from leaving the country. LG has not yet announced who will replace Jo at the American trade show, but whoever gets the nod might want to be extra delicate in how he or she handles any non-LG products during the trip.

Source: Sankei News
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