Lee Kun-hee of Samsung Dies at 78; Constructed an Electronics Titan

Lee Kun-hee was born in Daegu, in Japanese-occupied Korea, on Jan. 9, 1942, to Park Doo-eul and Lee Byung-chul, who had based Samsung a number of years earlier as an exporter of fruit and dried fish. He was a wrestler in highschool.

Samsung first grew by dominating the buyer staples, like sugar and textiles, that war-torn Korea wanted. It later expanded into insurance coverage, shipbuilding, building, semiconductors and extra. Lee Kun-hee graduated from Waseda College in Tokyo in 1965. He then studied in a grasp’s program at George Washington College however didn’t obtain a level.

He began his profession at Tongyang Broadcasting Firm, a Samsung affiliate on the time, in 1966. He labored at Samsung C&T, the conglomerate’s building and buying and selling agency, earlier than being named vice chairman of Samsung Group in 1979.

When he turned chairman in 1987, he took from his father a fixation on planning for the far future, even when instances appeared good. However he added an overlay of existential concern and ever-present disaster that persists amongst Samsung brass to today.

“We’re in an important transition,” Mr. Lee stated shortly after taking cost, in an interview with Forbes. “If we don’t transfer into extra capital- and technology-intensive industries, our very survival could also be at stake.”

The radicalness of the transition he had thoughts was made clear when he summoned scores of Samsung Electronics managers to a luxurious resort in Frankfurt in 1993. For days, he lectured the executives, urging them to bury previous methods of working and considering. “Change the whole lot,” he stated, “besides your spouse and kids.”

Samsung, he decreed, would give attention to bettering product high quality as a substitute of accelerating market share. It will usher in expertise from abroad, and it could require that senior executives intimately perceive overseas markets and how you can compete in them.

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