Samsung Chairman Dead
Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of conglomerate, Samsung Group is dead after he failed to fully recover following a heart attack in 2014.
The 78-year-old grew the South Korean Samsung, from a small trading business go become one of the world’s biggest Companies and a technology powerhouse.
His net worth is close to A$30 billion.
Mr Lee’s son, Lee Jae-yong, has served jail time for his role in a bribery scandal which triggered the ousting of then-President Park Geun-hye from office in 2017. Last month, prosecutors laid fresh charges against him over his role in a 2015 merger deal.
Samsung said Mr Lee died on Sunday with family by his side but did not state the exact cause of death.
“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the firm said in a statement.
Mr Lee was the third son of Lee Byung-chul, who founded Samsung Group in 1938. He joined the family firm in 1968 and took over as chairman in 1987 after his father’s death.
When Samsung was first established, they were seen as a producer of cheap, low-quality products but this quickly changed under his leadership.
Mr Lee became famous for telling employees in 1993: “Let’s change everything except our wives and kids.” The firm then burned its entire mobile phone stock, consisting of 150,000 handsets.
Mr Lee rarely spoke to the media and had a reputation for being a recluse, earning him the nickname “the hermit king”.
The BBC said that Samsung is by far the largest of South’s Korea’s chaebols – the family-owned conglomerates that dominate the country’s economy.
Chaebols helped to drive South Korea’s economic transformation after World War Two but have long been accused of murky political and business dealings.
Mr Lee was twice convicted of criminal offences, including the bribing of former President Roh Tae-woo.
He stepped down as Samsung chairman in 2008 after he was charged with tax evasion and embezzlement.
He was handed a three-year suspended jail sentence for tax evasion but was given a presidential pardon in 2009 and went on to lead South Korea’s successful bid to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.
He returned as chairman of Samsung Group in 2010 but was left bedridden by the 2014 heart attack.
Lee Kun-hee pushed the company relentlessly up the technological ladder. By the early 1990s, Samsung had surpassed Japanese and American rivals to become a pacesetter in memory chips. It came to dominate flat-panel displays as screens lost their bulk. And it conquered the middle-to-high end of the mobile market as cellphones became powerhouse computing devices in the 2000s.
Samsung Electronics today is a cornerstone of South Korea’s economy and one of the world’s top corporate spenders on research and development. Mr. Lee — who was chairman of Samsung Group from 1987 to 1998, chairman and chief executive of Samsung Electronics from 1998 to 2008, then Samsung Electronics chairman from 2010 until his death — was South Korea’s richest man.