The chairman of Samsung Electronics Lee Kun-hee, has died early Sunday morning at the age of 78.
Lee was South Korea’s richest and most powerful industrialist.
Kun-hee who transformed the South Korean firm into the world’s largest producer of smartphones and memory chips, was once convicted of criminal offences, in one case bribing a president.
A statement by Samsung Electronics read: “It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Kun-hee Lee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics.
“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,” the firm said, adding: “His legacy will be everlasting.
Samsung is one of the biggest of the family-controlled conglomerates that dominate business in South Korea. Lee assumed the leadership of Samsung group in 1987.
The company was founded by his father as a fish and fruit exporter before venturing into other sectors and became the country’s largest conglomerate.
Before assuming leadership, Samsung was notorious was producing cheap and low-quality products.
“Let’s change everything except our wives and kids,” Lee said in 1993 and that signalled the beginning of a new ear for the company.
His son, Lee Jae-yong has been the Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics since 2014 when his dad had a heart attack.