Lee Kun-Hee was the richest man in South Korea from 2007 till his death in 2020. He was a well-known businessman in South Korea who has served as the chairman of Samsung Group.
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He was the third son of Lee Byung-Chul, the founder of Samsung. He had played quite a big role in the transformation of Samsung to the world’s largest manufacturer of smartphones, televisions, and chips.
Apart from this, he has also served as a member of the International Olympic Committee. At the time of his death, his net worth was estimated to be US$21 billion.
Lee Kun-Hee Wiki/Bio
- Real Full Name: Lee Kun-Hee
- Born: 9 January 1942
- Parents: Lee Byung-Chul, Park Du-Eul
- Birth Place: Uiryong, South Kyongsang
- Nationality: Korean
- Education: Waseda University, George Washington University
- Profession: Businessman (Chairman of Samsung)
- Spouse: Hong Ra-hee
- Net worth: US$20.9 billion
Family and Early Life
Lee Kun-Hee was born on 9 January 1942 in Daegu. He was the third child of Lee Byung-Chul, who was the founder of the Samsung Group. He graduated from Waseda University in Japan and got a degree in economics. For his further masters in business, he went to George Washington University in Washington DC where he failed to get any degree.
Lee Kun-Hee was married to Hong Ra-hee. They both had four children, one boy son and three daughters. Lee Jae-Yong was his only son and Lee Boo-jin, Lee Seo-hyun and Lee Yoon-Hyung were his three daughters.
Professional Life, Husband
Lee Kun-Hee joined Samsung in 1966 and later went to work in Samsung’s trading and construction company. He got the chairmanship on 24 December 1987, two weeks after the death of his father.
He is also known as the real builder of today’s Samsung Group. He strongly used to believe that Samsung was producing a high number of low-quality goods that were not prepared to compete with the quality products in the market. This is why he changed the company’s approach towards quality under the Frankfurt Declaration.
The new amendment made many positive results and in 2006 the company became the largest manufacturer of television beating the Sony corporation.
At the time of his death, the company was worth US$300 billion.
In 2014, Lee was also ranked as the world’s 35th most powerful person by Forbes along with his son.
The professional career of Lee was full of many controversies. He was twice convicted for corruption and tax evasion charges in 1996 and 2008 but was later pardoned on both instances.
Lee’s older brother and sister initiated legal action against him in 2012, asking the South Korean court to award them the shares of Samsung companies totaling $850 million which they claimed to be awarded by their father to them. This case was dismissed by the court in 2014.
Lee Kun-Hee was suffering from lung cancer which he got treated in the late 1990s but again in 2005, he was tested for cancer in MD Anderson Medical Center, Houston, Texas.
After suffering a massive heart attack in 2014, he was hospitalized where he lapsed into a coma. He remained in a coma until his death on 25 October 2020 at the age of 78.