Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee, the man who transformed Samsung into an electronic giant, dies at 78
Last Thursday, we wrote about Vice-chairman and heir of Samsung, Lee Jae-Yong after he was indicted on new fraud charges. He is the eldest child and only son of Hong Ra-hee and Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of Samsung, and is widely considered to be his father’s future successor.
Now according to breaking news from the Wall Street Journal, Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee died on Sunday (Korean time) at the age of 78 after lying incapacitated in a hospital for more than half a decade. During his time as Chairman, Lee Kun-hee transformed Samsung into the world’s biggest manufacturer of smartphones and televisions, died Sunday after lying incapacitated in a hospital for more than half a decade.
Mr. Lee, who at the time of his death remained chairman of Samsung, had been hospitalized since May 2014 after a heart attack left him incapacitated. He already had been in fragile health and was treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s. During his more than three decades at the helm, Mr. Lee transformed the company into a global brand.
Samsung was founded by Lee Byung-Chul in 1938 as a trading company. In 30 years, Samsung diversified into areas including food processing, textiles, insurance, securities, and retail. Samsung entered the electronics industry in the late 1960s and the construction and shipbuilding industries in the mid-1970s; these areas would drive its subsequent growth. Samsung’s revenue was equal to 17% of South Korea’s $1,082 billion GDP. In 2019, Samsung Electronics recorded a revenue of around 230.4 trillion South Korean won (approximately 206 billion U.S. dollars).