The company said Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee has turned the South Korean company into a global tech titan. He died Sunday at the age of 78.
Under Lee’s leadership, Samsung has grown to become the world’s largest producer of smartphones and memory chips, and today the company’s total business accounts for one-fifth of South Korea’s GDP.
Known for his particular lifestyle, Lee died of a heart attack in 2014. Little was made aware of his predicament, leaving him shrouded in mystery even in his last days.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kun-Hee Lee, president of Samsung Electronics,” the company said in a statement.
“President Lee passed away on October 25 with his family, including Vice President JY Lee.”
The company said, “Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung from a local company into a leading innovator and industrial powerhouse in the world,” adding, “His legacy will be eternal.”
Samsung is by far the largest family group or chaebol dominating the business in South Korea.
He rose from a war-ravaged nation to the 12th largest economy in the world, but is today accused of silent political relations and competition – Lee has twice convicted himself of criminal offenses, in one case to a president . Bribed
When Lee inherited the chairmanship of the Samsung Group in 1987 – founded by his father as an exporter of fish and fruit – it was already the largest group in the country, with operations ranging from consumer electronics to the making.
But Lee focused it and gave him a worldwide reputation: By the time he suffered a heart attack in 2014, he was the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones and memory chips. It is also today a major global player in semiconductors and LCD screens.
Nonetheless, he rarely ventured outside the high walls of his private complex in central Seoul to visit the company’s headquarters, earning him the nickname “King of the Hermits.”
His son, Lee Jae-yong, vice president of Samsung Electronics, has been at the helm of the company since the heart attack of 2014.
Lee was jailed for five years in 2017 after being convicted of bribery and other crimes involving former President Park Geun-hye before being released from the most serious charges on appeal and freed after a year.
This case is currently withdrawn.
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