Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee has passed away on October 25, Sunday, Samsung said. He was 78 years old.
His death comes six years after he was hospitalized in 2014 after suffering a heart attack.
Samsung said his funeral will be for family members only. Lee is survived by his son Jae-yong, his wife Hong Ra-hee and his daughters Boo-jin and Seo-hyun.
Lee Kun-hee was born in 1942. He became Samsung’s second chairman in 1987 after his father and founder Lee Byung-chull died.
The chairman is credited with turning Samsung into a global conglomerate. Under his tenure, the South Korean conglomerate became the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, smartphones and TVs.
Samsung group’s annual sales in 1987 was 10 trillion won but in 2018 it grew to 387 trillion won. In the same time period, operating profits increased from 200 billion won to 72 trillion won. Market cap increased from 1 trillion won to 396 trillion won.
Lee laid the foundation for Samsung to become a world-class conglomerate with his 1993 New Management declaration. He fathered Samsung executives to Frankfurt in Germany and asked them to “change everything except your wife and children.”
Lee’s management philosophy has been human and technology centered. He asked employees to change their perspective to recognize reality and self-reflect to change and focus on quality to offer the most competitive products and services to customers, thereby contributing to humanity.
The chairman was also known for his open recruitment policy. He sent Samsung employees abroad to make them experts in their particular region and fostered over 5,000 global talents.
He was also the member of the International Olympic Committee. Samsung was the top sponsor of Olympic Games since 1997.