The Lee way – Samsung after Lee Kun-hee | Business




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Lee Kun-hee, who made S.Korea’s Samsung a global powerhouse, dies at 78


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“It has been six years since Lee was hospitalized, so if there is a consensus among the children, Samsung will go through an orderly succession. If not, there is a possibility of a feud,” said Park Sang-in, a professor at Seoul National University.

“With Lee’s death, Samsung now faces greater uncertainty over the inheritance,” he said.

Lee died with his family by his side, including Jay Y. Lee, the Samsung Electronics vice chairman, the conglomerate said.

“Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business,” Samsung said in a statement.

The company did not specify the cause of death and declined to comment on whether Lee left a will.

Lee helped grow his father Lee Byung-chull’s noodle trading business into a sprawling powerhouse with assets worth some $375 billion, with dozens of affiliates stretching from electronics and insurance to shipbuilding and construction.

During his lifetime, Samsung Electronics developed from a second-tier TV maker to the world’s biggest technology firm by revenue – seeing off Japanese brands like Sony Corp, Sharp Corp and Panasonic Corp in chips, TVs and displays; ending Nokia Oyj’s handset supremacy and beating Apple Inc in smartphones.

“His legacy will be everlasting,” Samsung said.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee, Cynthis Kim and Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Miyoung Kim and William Mallard)



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Lee Kun-hee of Samsung Dies at 78; Built an Electronics Titan


Lee Kun-hee was born in Daegu, in Japanese-occupied Korea, on Jan. 9, 1942, to Park Doo-eul and Lee Byung-chul, who had founded Samsung a few years earlier as an exporter of fruit and dried fish. The younger Lee was a wrestler in high school.

Samsung first grew by dominating the consumer staples, like sugar and textiles, that war-torn Korea needed. It later expanded into insurance, shipbuilding, construction, semiconductors and more. Lee Kun-hee graduated from Waseda University in Tokyo in 1965. He then studied in a master’s program at George Washington University but did not receive a degree.

He started his career at Tongyang Broadcasting Company, a Samsung affiliate at the time, in 1966. He worked at Samsung C&T, the conglomerate’s construction and trading firm, before being named vice chairman of Samsung Group in 1979.

When he became chairman in 1987, he took from his father a fixation on planning for the far future, even when times seemed good. But he added an overlay of existential fear and ever-present crisis that persists among Samsung brass to this day.

“We are in a very important transition,” Mr. Lee said shortly after taking charge, in an interview with Forbes. “If we don’t move into more capital- and technology-intensive industries, our very survival may be at stake.”

The radicalness of the transition he had mind was made clear when he summoned scores of Samsung Electronics managers to a luxury hotel in Frankfurt in 1993. For days, he lectured the executives, urging them to bury old ways of working and thinking. “Change everything,” he said, “except your wife and children.”

Samsung, he decreed, would focus on improving product quality instead of increasing market share. It would bring in talent from overseas, and it would require that senior executives intimately understand foreign markets and how to compete in them.



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Samsung group chairman Lee Kun-hee died, says Samsung


October 25, 2020

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee died on Sunday, Samsung said. He died with his family, including Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, by his side, the conglomerate said.

Lee, who was 78, helped grow his father Lee Byung-chull’s noodle trading business into South Korea’s biggest conglomerate. His death came more than six years after he was hospitalised for heart attack.

“Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business. His 1993 declaration of ‘New Management’ was the motivating driver of the company’s vision to deliver the best technology to help advance global society,” Samsung said in a statement.

(Reporting by Cynthia Kim, Joyce Lee; Editing by William Mallard)





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