Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee has died aged 78, the company announced on Sunday. Samsung was transformed into a global giant by Lee. And under his leadership, Samsung became a popular name in the smartphone as well as overall consumer electronics industry. That’s not all, the company managed to become the leading producer of phones and chipsets for other brands as well.
It’s claimed that Lee and his overall leadership helped Samsung’s turnover to be equivalent to one-fifth of South Korea’s gross domestic product (GDP). Lee was keeping unwell ever since he was left bedridden after a major heart attack in 2014. The company had kept his health condition away from the public’s radar over the years. Which makes the news of his passing away sound even more sudden.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kun-hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics,” the company said in a statement. “Chairman Lee passed away on October 25 with his family, including Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee, by his side.”
“Chairman Lee was a true visionary who transformed Samsung into the world-leading innovator and industrial powerhouse from a local business,” Samsung said, adding: “His legacy will be everlasting.”
Lee’s death leaves a huge role to be filled. His son, Lee Jae-yong has presided over the leadership role since 2014 as the vice chairman of Samsung. But was more or less being groomed to takeover from his father eventually. Having said that, the son himself has courted controversy. He was found guilty of bribing and other offenses for which he was jailed for five years in 2017. But he was cleared of these charges and released a year later. And now, Lee will be taking over the reigns over the large conglomerate.