Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, who remodeled the South Korean agency into a global tech titan, died at the age of 78 on Sunday, the organization stated.
Beneath Lee’s management, Samsung rose to turn out to be the world’s premier producer of smartphones and memory chips, and the firm’s overall turnover these days is equivalent to a fifth of South Korea’s GDP.
Samsung’s meteoric rise helped make Lee South Korea’s richest and most strong industrialist.
“It is with good disappointment that we announce the passing of Kun-hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics,” the enterprise mentioned in a assertion.
“Chairman Lee passed away on October 25 with his spouse and children, together with Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, by his side.
“Chairman Lee was a correct visionary who remodeled Samsung into the earth-foremost innovator and industrial powerhouse from a area organization,” the company explained, including: “His legacy will be eternal.”
Samsung is by far the largest of the relatives-managed conglomerates, or chaebols, that dominate small business in South Korea.
They drove the nation’s transformation from a war-ravaged destroy to the world’s 12th-biggest economic system, but at present are accused of murky political ties and stifling level of competition — with Lee himself twice convicted of criminal offences, in one scenario bribing a president.
– Global electric power –
When Lee inherited the chairmanship of the Samsung team in 1987 — launched by his father as a fish and fruit exporter — it was currently the country’s premier conglomerate, with functions ranging from customer electronics to design.
But it was seen as a shoddy producer of low-cost, reduced-high quality goods.
“Let’s alter everything apart from our wives and young children,” Lee stated in 1993.
The corporation gathered up and burnt all 150,000 cellular telephones it had in inventory, paving the way for the rebirth of the highly productive “Anycall” handset.
With Lee at the helm, Samsung grew to become a world behemoth: by the time he endured a heart attack in 2014, it was the world’s major maker of smartphones and memory chips, and a important participant in semiconductors and LCDs.
Lee rarely spoke to the media, but was intently viewed any time he broke his extended silences, normally with doom-laden New 12 months company addresses.
His son, Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, has been at the helm of the company considering that the 2014 heart attack.
– ‘Hermit king’ –
Despite his huge wealth and energy, Lee rarely ventured out from the substantial partitions of his private compound in central Seoul to visit the enterprise headquarters, earning him the nickname “hermit king”.
Lee, the 3rd son of Samsung team founder Lee Byung-chull, experienced a comfortable spot for pet dogs — created as a boy or girl in Japan exactly where he went to university from age 11. He was also recognized for his appreciate of movies, horseriding and exotic supercars.
He analyzed at Japan’s prestigious Waseda College and attained an MBA at George Washington University in the United States.
He turned vice chairman of the group’s development and investing arm at the age of 36, and turned group chairman nine years later, soon after his father’s loss of life.
Lee married Hong Ra-hee — whose father was a justice minister — with whom he experienced a son and 3 daughters.
– Bribes, embezzlement, tax evasion –
The worlds of politics and small business have been intertwined in South Korea, and the link was reflected in Lee’s occupation.
In 1996, he was convicted of bribing former president Roh Tae-woo to get favours for Samsung in organization coverage selections.
Lee was also observed responsible of embezzlement and tax evasion in a slush fund scandal in 2008, which noticed him briefly stage down from the enterprise management.
But suspended sentences intended he never ever served time in jail and he received two presidential pardons, likely on to spearhead his country’s effective initiatives to protected the 2018 Winter Olympics.
A few years afterwards, he fought off a lawsuit from his older brother and sister declaring they were entitled to Samsung shares worthy of billions of bucks.
He had been in health care care after his coronary heart attack, but number of specifics have been at any time exposed about his situation, leaving him shrouded in mystery even in his final times.