Samsung Chairman Lee Kun Hee dies

Samsung Electronics President Lee Kun-hee, who turned the group into a global communications giant, passed away on Sunday at the age of 78, according to the South Korean company. During his administration, Samsung has grown into the world’s largest producer of smartphones and microchips, and the company’s total sales now make up a fifth of the country’s GDP. Lee, who is notoriously isolated, has been bedridden since he had a heart attack in 2014.

Little information emerged about his health, as he surrounded his life in an aura of mystery until his last days. “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Lee Kun-hee, President of Samsung Electronics,” the company said in a statement.

Samsung is the largest family business conglomerate in the country. And the company that contributed to the country’s massive recovery after the Korean War, and South Korea is currently ranked twelfth in terms of the largest economy in the world, accused of establishing suspicious relations with the political authority and hindering competition.

Lonely King

Li was convicted of corruption charges in 1996, then corruption and tax evasion in 2008. But he escaped entering the cell, after being sentenced to a suspended prison sentence. When he inherited in 1987 the chairmanship of the group, which was founded by his father, an exporter of fruit and fish, the company was already the largest conglomerate in the country, with a business scope ranging from making universal electronics to the construction sector.

Then Lee focused the company’s activity to make it an international group. Upon suffering a heart attack in 2014, Samsung had become the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones and memory chips. Today the company is also a major global player in the semiconductor and display (LCD) field.


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