Lee Kun-hee, the long-time chairman of Samsung Group who transformed the conglomerate into one of the world’s largest business empires, died today at the age of 78.
Under his management, Samsung spearheaded initiatives across a number of areas in electronics, including semiconductors, memory chips, displays, and other components that are the backbone of today’s digital devices. Millions of people around the world use and own a Samsung device of some sorts.
Samsung Electronics, just one of a complex spider web of Samsung companies, is today worth approximately $350 billion, making it among the most valuable companies in the world. While his business acumen and strategic insights handling Samsung were lauded, he faced troubles in recent years. He was convicted of tax evasion in the late 2000s but was ultimately pardoned by the country’s then-president Lee Myung-bak.
After his heart attack, Lee Kun-hee remained hospitalized in stable condition and rumours of his ill health have circulated in the six years since. Lee leaves behind roughly $20 billion in wealth, and he is the wealthiest South Korean citizen. He is survived by his wife and four children.
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