Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, who reworked the South Korean firm into a world wide tech titan, died at the age of 78 on Sunday, the firm reported.
Underneath Lee’s management, Samsung rose to turn into the world’s biggest producer of smartphones and memory chips, and the firm’s in general turnover these days is equivalent to a fifth of South Korea’s GDP.
Samsung’s meteoric increase assisted make Lee South Korea’s richest and most impressive industrialist.
“It is with great unhappiness that we announce the passing of Kun-hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics,” the enterprise said in a statement.
“Chairman Lee handed absent on October 25 with his loved ones, such as Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, by his facet.
“Chairman Lee was a real visionary who reworked Samsung into the world-foremost innovator and industrial powerhouse from a regional enterprise,” the business said, introducing: “His legacy will be everlasting.”
Samsung is by much the largest of the loved ones-managed conglomerates, or chaebols, that dominate organization in South Korea.
They drove the nation’s transformation from a war-ravaged damage to the world’s 12th-most significant overall economy, but at present are accused of murky political ties and stifling opposition — with Lee himself twice convicted of felony offences, in a person case bribing a president.
World wide ability
When Lee inherited the chairmanship of the Samsung group in 1987 — established by his father as a fish and fruit exporter — it was currently the country’s biggest conglomerate, with functions ranging from purchaser electronics to construction.
But it was noticed as a shoddy producer of low cost, reduced-quality goods.
“Let us alter almost everything except our wives and little ones,” Lee reported in 1993.
The enterprise gathered up and burnt all 150,000 cell telephones it had in inventory, paving the way for the rebirth of the very thriving “Anycall” handset.
With Lee at the helm, Samsung grew to become a world behemoth: by the time he suffered a heart assault in 2014, it was the world’s largest maker of smartphones and memory chips, and a key participant in semiconductors and LCDs.
Lee not often spoke to the media, but was intently viewed any time he broke his very long silences, often with doom-laden New 12 months corporate addresses.
His son, Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, has been at the helm of the firm given that the 2014 heart assault.
Inspite of his immense wealth and electricity, Lee rarely ventured out from the large walls of his personal compound in central Seoul to visit the enterprise headquarters, earning him the nickname “hermit king”.
Lee, the 3rd son of Samsung group founder Lee Byung-chull, experienced a delicate spot for dogs — designed as a kid in Japan in which he went to college from age 11. He was also regarded for his appreciate of motion pictures, horseriding and unique supercars.
He researched at Japan’s prestigious Waseda University and attained an MBA at George Washington College in the United States.
He turned vice chairman of the group’s construction and investing arm at the age of 36, and became group chairman nine yrs afterwards, soon following his father’s death.
Lee married Hong Ra-hee — whose father was a justice minister — with whom he experienced a son and a few daughters.
Bribes, embezzlement, tax evasion
The worlds of politics and business enterprise have been intertwined in South Korea, and the connection was mirrored in Lee’s occupation.
In 1996, he was convicted of bribing previous president Roh Tae-woo to get favours for Samsung in business enterprise coverage choices.
Lee was also found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in a slush fund scandal in 2008, which observed him briefly action down from the enterprise leadership.
But suspended sentences intended he in no way served time in jail and he been given two presidential pardons, likely on to spearhead his country’s thriving efforts to protected the 2018 Winter season Olympics.
A couple years later on, he fought off a lawsuit from his older brother and sister claiming they were being entitled to Samsung shares value billions of dollars.
He experienced been in health care care right after his heart assault, but handful of facts ended up ever discovered about his condition, leaving him shrouded in thriller even in his remaining days.