Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee Dies Aged 78
Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee passed away yesterday, October 25, aged 78. The businessman radically altered the shape of Samsung and led the company to unprecedented success.
The chairman of Samsung was with his family when he passed, and while an exact cause was not stated, the health of Lee had been poor since his heart attack in 2014.
When Lee Kun-hee became the Head of Samsung the company was known for mass producing cheap products that were low quality. Lee oversaw the complete transformation of the company, which is now an economic powerhouse and one of the largest technology companies in the world.
After Lee Kun-hee’s father died, he became the head of Samsung and began to radically address the way the company operated. This included burning 150,000 phone handsets in 1993 to reestablish the company. This paid off, and the company became hugely profitable while Lee became the richest man in South Korea. However, the businessman was also involved in controversy.
Lee had reportedly been involved in a number of white-collar crimes. One of which was bribing President Roh Tae-woo, the other was tax evasion. Both crimes were pardoned and despite having to step down in 2008 because of tax evasion and embezzlement, Lee returned to the position in 2010. The businessman then went on to lead the successful bid for South Korea to host the Winter Olympics in 2018.
In 2014, Lee suffered a heart attack and became bedridden. As a result, his son Lee Jae-yong has largely taken on his father’s role despite facing criminal investigations himself. Going forward, it seems that Lee Jae-yong will continue this role, although there may be a reshuffle to avoid considerable inheritance tax.
Lee Kun-hee managed to transform Samsung, and the company has released a statement about the former head of the company, ‘All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him.’
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