Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee dies at 78

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — Lee Kun-Hee, the sick Samsung Electronics chairman who reworked the small tv maker into a world massive of client electronics, has died. He was once 78.

A Samsung observation mentioned Lee died on Sunday along with his members of the family, together with his son and de facto corporate leader Lee Jae-yong, through his aspect.

Lee Kun-Hee have been hospitalized since Would possibly 2014 after struggling a middle assault and the more youthful Lee has run Samsung, the largest corporate in South Korea.

“All folks at Samsung will cherish his reminiscence and are thankful for the adventure we shared with him,” the Samsung observation mentioned. “Our inner most sympathies are along with his circle of relatives, family members and the ones nearest. His legacy might be permanent.”

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Lee Kun-hee inherited keep watch over from his father and right through his just about 30 years of management, Samsung Electronics Co. become a world logo and the sector’s biggest maker of smartphones, televisions and reminiscence chips. Samsung sells Galaxy telephones whilst additionally making the monitors and microchips that energy its competitors, Apple’s iPhones and Google Android telephones.

Samsung helped make the country’s economic system, Asia’s fourth-largest. Its companies surround shipbuilding, existence insurance coverage, development, motels, amusement park operation and extra. Samsung Electronics by myself accounts for 20% of the marketplace capital on South Korea’s primary inventory marketplace.

Lee leaves in the back of immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.

His loss of life comes right through a fancy time for Samsung.

When he was once hospitalized, Samsung’s once-lucrative cell industry confronted threats from upstart makers in China and different rising markets. Power was once top to innovate its historically robust industry, to reform a stifling hierarchical tradition and to strengthen its company governance and transparency.


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Samsung was once ensnared within the 2016-17 corruption scandal that ended in then-President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment and imprisonment. Its executives, together with the more youthful Lee, have been investigated through prosecutors who believed Samsung executives bribed Park to protected the federal government’s backing for a clean management transition from father to son.

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In a prior scandal, Lee Kun-Hee was once convicted in 2008 for unlawful proportion dealings, tax evasion and bribery designed to cross his wealth and company keep watch over to his 3 youngsters.

The overdue Lee was once a stern, terse chief who considering big-picture methods, leaving main points and day-to-day control to executives.

His near-absolute authority allowed the corporate to make daring choices within the fast-changing era trade, similar to dishing out billions to construct new manufacturing strains for reminiscence chips and show panels even because the 2008 international monetary disaster opened up. The ones dangerous strikes fueled Samsung’s upward push.

Lee was once born Jan. nine, 1942, within the southeastern town of Daegu right through Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His father Lee Byung-chull had based an export industry there in 1938 and following the 1950-53 Korean Conflict, he rebuilt the corporate into an electronics and residential equipment producer and the rustic’s first primary buying and selling corporate.

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Lee Byung-chull was once regularly known as some of the fathers of contemporary business South Korea. Lee Kun-Hee was once the 3rd son and his inheritance of his father’s companies bucked the custom of circle of relatives wealth going to the eldest. One in all Lee Kun-Hee’s brothers sued for a larger a part of Samsung however misplaced the case.

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When Lee Kun-Hee inherited keep watch over from his father in 1987, Samsung was once depending on Eastern era to provide TVs and was once making its first steps into exporting microwaves and fridges.

The corporate was once increasing its semiconductor factories after coming into the industry in 1974 through obtaining a near-bankrupt company.

A decisive second got here in 1993. Lee Kun-Hee made sweeping adjustments to Samsung after a two-month shuttle in another country satisfied him the corporate had to strengthen the standard of its merchandise.

In a speech to Samsung executives, he famously suggested, “Let’s exchange the whole lot apart from our better halves and youngsters.”

Now not all his strikes succeeded.


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A notable failure was once the gang’s growth into the automobile trade within the 1990s, partly pushed through Lee Kun-Hee’s interest for luxurious automobiles. Samsung later bought near-bankrupt Samsung Motor to Renault. The corporate additionally was once often criticized for disrespecting labour rights. Most cancers instances amongst staff at its semiconductor factories have been omitted for years.

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In 2020, Lee Jae-yong declared heredity transfers at Samsung would finish, promising the control rights he inherited wouldn’t cross to his youngsters. He additionally mentioned Samsung would forestall suppressing worker makes an attempt to prepare unions, even if labour activists wondered his sincerity.

South Koreans are each pleased with Samsung’s international good fortune and anxious the corporate and Lee circle of relatives are above the regulation and affect over virtually each nook of society.


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Critics specifically word how Lee Kun-Hee’s simplest son received immense wealth thru unlisted stocks of Samsung companies that later went public.

In 2007, a former corporate legal professional accused Samsung of wrongdoing in a ebook that become a bestseller in South Korea. Lee Kun-Hee was once therefore indicted on tax evasion and different fees.

Lee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics and was once convicted and sentenced to a suspended three-year jail time period. He gained a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to Samsung’s control in 2010.

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This tale comprises biographical subject matter compiled through former AP industry author YouKyung Lee.




© 2020 The Canadian Press

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