Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee dies

Ruben Fields
October 25, 2020

Lee Kun-hee, who had transformed Samsung Group into one of the world's major tech giants from a small trading firm, died at a hospital in Seoul on Sunday at age 78, leaving a thorny succession challenge for his children.

Lee's son, Jay Y. Lee, has led the company since becoming Vice Chairman in 2012 and is expected to inherit his father's title.

"Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business", the firm said, adding: "His legacy will be everlasting". Live Breaking News Headlines And Coronavirus Updates on October 25, 2020.

Samsung is by far the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates, or chaebols, that dominate business in South Korea.

Samsung stands at the center of the South Korean economy, with its outbound shipments accounting for over 20 percent of Asia's fourth-largest economy's exports.

The death of Lee, with a net worth of US$20.9 billion according to Forbes, is set to prompt investor interest in a potential restructuring of the group involving his stakes in key Samsung companies such as Samsung Life Insurance and Samsung Electronics.

France condemns 'unacceptable' Erdogan comments, recalls envoy
We demand Erdoğan to change his policy, because it's risky in all respects", an official from Élysée Palace told AFP. The French presidential office said "Excess and rudeness are not a method.

His death comes six years after he was hospitalised for a heart attack.

"Change everything except for your wife and children", Lee Kun-hee told an emergency meeting with executives to address what he saw as a "life-or-death situation", facing the company.

At the time, Samsung was seen as a producer of cheap, low-quality products.

Mr Lee rarely spoke to the media and had a reputation for being a recluse, earning him the nickname "the hermit king".

The third son of Samsung's founder studied at universities in Japan and the United States, and assumed the post of chairman in 1987. He was indicted in 2008 for creating slush funds, and Kim Yong-chul, a former legal council for the company, said publicly that Lee had bribed politicians, judges and prosecutors.

But suspended sentences meant he never served time in jail and he received two presidential pardons, going on to spearhead his country's successful efforts to secure the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Other reports by

Discuss This Article