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Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee Dies at 78

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Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee, who remodeled the South Korean agency into a world tech titan, died on the age of 78 on Sunday, the corporate mentioned.

Beneath Lee’s management, Samsung rose to develop into the world’s largest producer of smartphones and reminiscence chips, and the agency’s general turnover right this moment is equal to a fifth of South Korea’s GDP.

Samsung’s meteoric rise helped make Lee South Korea’s richest and strongest industrialist.

“It’s with nice unhappiness that we announce the passing of Kun-hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics,” the corporate mentioned in a press release.

“Chairman Lee handed away on October 25 along with his household, together with Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, by his facet.

“Chairman Lee was a real visionary who remodeled Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a neighborhood enterprise,” the agency mentioned, including: “His legacy will probably be eternal.”

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

They drove the nation’s transformation from a war-ravaged wreck to the world’s 12th-largest economic system, however these days are accused of murky political ties and stifling competitors — with Lee himself twice convicted of felony offences, in a single case bribing a president.

World energy
When Lee inherited the chairmanship of the Samsung group in 1987 — based by his father as a fish and fruit exporter — it was already the nation’s largest conglomerate, with operations starting from shopper electronics to building.

Nevertheless it was seen as a shoddy producer of low-cost, low-quality merchandise.

“Let’s change all the pieces besides our wives and youngsters,” Lee mentioned in 1993.

The corporate gathered up and burnt all 150,000 cellphones it had in inventory, paving the best way for the rebirth of the extremely profitable “Anycall” handset.

With Lee on the helm, Samsung grew to become a world behemoth: by the point he suffered a coronary heart assault in 2014, it was the world’s largest maker of smartphones and reminiscence chips, and a serious participant in semiconductors and LCDs.

Lee hardly ever spoke to the media, however was carefully watched every time he broke his lengthy silences, usually with doom-laden New 12 months company addresses.

His son, Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, has been on the helm of the corporate because the 2014 coronary heart assault.

‘Hermit king’
Regardless of his immense wealth and energy, Lee seldom ventured out from the excessive partitions of his personal compound in central Seoul to go to the corporate headquarters, incomes him the nickname “hermit king”.

Lee, the third son of Samsung group founder Lee Byung-chull, had a smooth spot for canine — developed as a toddler in Japan the place he went to high school from age 11. He was additionally recognized for his love of films, horseriding and unique supercars.

He studied at Japan’s prestigious Waseda College and earned an MBA at George Washington College in america.

He grew to become vice chairman of the group’s building and buying and selling arm on the age of 36, and have become group chairman 9 years later, shortly after his father’s dying.

Lee married Hong Ra-hee — whose father was a justice minister — with whom he had a son and three daughters.

Bribes, embezzlement, tax evasion
The worlds of politics and enterprise have been intertwined in South Korea, and the connection was mirrored in Lee’s profession.

In 1996, he was convicted of bribing former president Roh Tae-woo to get favours for Samsung in enterprise coverage choices.

Lee was additionally discovered responsible of embezzlement and tax evasion in a slush fund scandal in 2008, which noticed him briefly step down from the corporate management.

However suspended sentences meant he by no means served time in jail and he acquired two presidential pardons, happening to spearhead his nation’s profitable efforts to safe the 2018 Winter Olympics.

A number of years later, he fought off a lawsuit from his older brother and sister claiming they have been entitled to Samsung shares price billions of {dollars}.

He had been in medical care after his coronary heart assault, however few particulars have been ever revealed about his situation, leaving him shrouded in thriller even in his ultimate days.

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