Kim Tong-Hyung And Hyung-Jin Kim, The Associated Press
Published Saturday, October 24, 2020 9:45PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 24, 2020 10:31PM EDT
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of – Lee Kun-Hee, the ailing Samsung Electronics chairman who transformed the small television maker into a global giant of consumer electronics, has died. He was 78.
A Samsung statement said Lee died on Sunday with his family members, including his son and de facto company chief Lee Jae-yong, by his side.
Lee Kun-Hee had been hospitalized since May 2014 after suffering a heart attack and the younger Lee has run Samsung, the biggest company in South Korea.
“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the Samsung statement said. “Our deepest sympathies are with his family, relatives and those nearest. His legacy will be everlasting.”
Lee Kun-hee inherited control from his father and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Samsung sells Galaxy phones while also making the screens and microchips that power its rivals, Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones.
Samsung helped make the nation’s economy, Asia’s fourth-largest. Its businesses encompass shipbuilding, life insurance, construction, hotels, amusement park operation and more. Samsung Electronics alone accounts for 20% of the market capital on South Korea’s main stock market.
Lee leaves behind immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.
His death comes during a complex time for Samsung.
When he was hospitalized, Samsung’s once-lucrative mobile business faced threats from upstart makers in China and other emerging markets. Pressure was high to innovate its traditionally strong hardware business, to reform a stifling hierarchical culture and to improve its corporate governance and transparency.
Samsung was ensnared in the 2016-17 corruption scandal that led to then-President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment and imprisonment. Its executives, including the younger Lee, were investigated by prosecutors who believed Samsung executives bribed Park to secure the government’s backing for a smooth leadership transition from father to son.
In a previous scandal, Lee Kun-Hee was convicted in 2008 for illegal share dealings, tax evasion and bribery designed to pass his wealth and corporate control to his three children.
The late Lee was a stern, terse leader who focused on big-picture strategies, leaving details and daily management to executives.
His near-absolute authority allowed the company to make bold decisions in the fast-changing technology industry, such as shelling out billions to build new production lines for memory chips and display panels even as the 2008 global financial crisis unfolded. Those risky moves fueled Samsung’s rise.
Lee was born Jan. 9, 1942, in the southeastern city of Daegu during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His father Lee Byung-chull had founded an export business there in 1938 and following the 1950-53 Korean War, he rebuilt the company into an electronics and home appliance manufacturer and the country’s first major trading company.
Lee Byung-chull was often called one of the fathers of modern industrial South Korea. Lee Kun-Hee was the third son and his inheritance of his father’s businesses bucked the tradition of family wealth going to the eldest. One of Lee Kun-Hee’s brothers sued for a bigger part of Samsung but lost the case.
When Lee Kun-Hee inherited control from his father in 1987, Samsung was relying on Japanese technology to produce TVs and was making its first steps into exporting microwaves and refrigerators.
The company was expanding its semiconductor factories after entering the business in 1974 by acquiring a near-bankrupt firm.
A decisive moment came in 1993. Lee Kun-Hee made sweeping changes to Samsung after a two-month trip abroad convinced him the company needed to improve the quality of its products.
In a speech to Samsung executives, he famously urged, “Let’s change everything except our wives and children.”
Not all his moves succeeded.
A notable failure was the group’s expansion into the auto industry in the 1990s, in part driven by Lee Kun-Hee’s passion for luxury cars. Samsung later sold near-bankrupt Samsung Motor to Renault. The company also was frequently criticized for disrespecting labour rights. Cancer cases among workers at its semiconductor factories were ignored for years.
In 2020, Lee Jae-yong declared heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists questioned his sincerity.
South Koreans are both proud of Samsung’s global success and concerned the company and Lee family are above the law and influence over almost every corner of society.
Critics particularly note how Lee Kun-Hee’s only son gained immense wealth through unlisted shares of Samsung firms that later went public.
In 2007, a former company lawyer accused Samsung of wrongdoing in a book that became a bestseller in South Korea. Lee Kun-Hee was subsequently indicted on tax evasion and other charges.
Lee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics and was convicted and sentenced to a suspended three-year prison term. He received a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to Samsung’s management in 2010.
Families of 737 Max crash victims say plane is still unsafe, demand public inquiry – Canada News – Castanet.net
Families of Canadians killed in the Boeing 737 Max crash say the plane remains unsafe and should stay grounded, despite being cleared for takeoff by regulators in the United States.
Paul Njoroge, whose wife, three children and died in the March 2019 crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, told the House of Commons transport committee Tuesday the aircraft is still “unstable.”
He and Chris Moore, whose daughter was among the 18 Canadian citizens who lost their lives, are calling for an independent inquiry into Transport Canada’s validation of Boeing’s best-selling airplane.
Moore says Canadians deserve to know why Transport Canada did not take action even after issuing a letter of concern before the crash about the Max plane’s anti-stall system, which safety regulators have said U.S. authorities failed to properly review.
Transport Canada said last week its recertification standards for the Max 8 diverge from those of U.S. regulators, including added procedures on the flight deck and differences in pilot training.
The Max planes have been grounded since March 2019 after the deadly crashes of a Lion Air flight near Jakarta in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines flight less than five months later.
Victims' families tell MPs Boeing 737 Max should stay grounded for now – CBC.ca
Canadians who lost loved ones in a deadly crash on a Boeing 737 Max plane in 2019 told MPs today that the aircraft should remain grounded in Canada, even though the U.S. has cleared it to fly again.
Family members of people killed in 737 Max crashes told the House of Commons’ transport committee this afternoon they want Canada to launch an independent inquiry into the crashes before clearing the planes for service.
“I believe the plane is still unsafe to fly,” said Paul Njoroge, who lost his entire family last year on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.
“I still have nightmares about how my wife must have felt helpless, seeing the fear in our children’s eyes, knowing they were about to die.
“We want Transport Canada to go back to the drawing board … I think that’s the only way Canadians can feel safe stepping onto a 737 Max.”
Canada’s 737 Max fleet has been grounded for 20 months in response to two deadly crashes. In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines flight plunged from the air southeast of the capital Addis Ababa minutes after takeoff, killing everyone onboard — including 18 Canadians and a family of permanent residents to Canada. Five months earlier, another 737 Max owned by Lion Air plunged into the Java Sea shortly after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers.
Ethiopia’s investigation report pointed the finger at Boeing, saying flaws in the aircraft’s design caused the crash. Inaccurate sensor readings activated the MCAS anti-stall system, which pointed the plane’s nose down as pilots struggled to right it, the report said.
Transport Canada has been working with the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration and received a directive listing changes to the aircraft. The department’s safety experts have been doing their own independent review of those proposed changes to determine if the 737 Max is safe to fly again.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s office said today the experts’ work is expected to conclude “very soon.”
‘Desolation and pain’
The families said today they want Transport Canada to explain why it approved the planes to fly in the first place, and why the fleet wasn’t grounded immediately after the crash in 2018.
Njoroge’s wife Carolyne Karanja, their three children (Ryan Njuguna, Kellie Pauls and Rubi Pauls) and mother-in-law Anne Karanja all died on board Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. He reminded MPs the 737 Max they were on blasted a nine-meter-deep crater in the ground when it hit.
“The tragic death of my family left me in a chasm of solitude, desolation and pain,” he said. “I am here today because I believe that the crash that killed my family was preventable.”
Njoroge said aviation regulators around the country were not “diligent enough” when they decided to allow the 737 Max to fly.
“Certainly, Canada would not have lost its 18 citizens and an unknown number of Canadian permanent residents had Transport Canada made prudent decisions after the crash of Lion Air Flight 610,” he said.
Garneau has been criticized by victims’ families for not grounding Canada’s 737 Max fleet of 41 planes after the first crash, and for Canada being one of the last countries to do so after the second crash.
Families want to know what data Canada had after the first crash when it issued a directive to pilots to memorize a 5-step process to deal with a potential problem with the plane.
Garneau said in March 2019 it would have been “premature” to ground the fleet before investigators could pinpoint the cause of the second crash.
Garneau told the transport committee in March 2020 that Canada was “scrambling for information” and “had no clear picture of what happened” until data showed similarities to the Lion Air crash. Garneau said he notified the U.S. on March 13, 2019, and it followed suit two hours after Canada grounded the plane.
Too many unanswered questions, said Chris Moore
Chris Moore’s 24-year-old daughter Danielle died in the Ethiopian crash. He reminded the committee that Transport Canada had questions about the 737 Max as early as 2016 — but Canada didn’t get answers from Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration before it approved the plane as safe to fly, according to government documents.
The documents show Transport Canada’s test pilots asked for more information about the plane’s automated anti-stall system before the 737 Max was certified, but didn’t get an explanation in time.
“Our government didn’t fully understand what they were validating,” said Moore. “Transport Canada was essentially rubber-stamping a doomed MAX plane. Eighteen Canadians perished and our government shrugged.”
David Turnbull, Transport Canada’s director of national aircraft certification, told the committee in March 2020 that the questions pilots asked about the aircraft’s anti-stall system form a regular part of the certification process. He insisted Canada would never allow the planes to fly if it was aware of any safety issues.
In a statement, Garneau’s office said today that Transport Canada wanted to know if a “stall warning system, versus a stall protection system” was being used that would have required that a “higher degree of design integrity be met.”
“In the end, Transport Canada was satisfied that the systems in question represent a stall identification system.”
Moore said today there are still too many unanswered questions.
“Did any engineer recommend grounding the plane?” he asked. “Did Canadian and American authorities feel superior in their knowledge and downplay the Lion Air crash because it occurred in a developing country? Would Canada have grounded the Max if the crash happened in Canada?”
The U.S. House Transportation Committee’s investigation released damning details about how Boeing “jeopardized the safety of the flying public” to keep up with production pressures, and cited a “culture of concealment” at Boeing that involved hiding flaws with the new MCAS system from 737 MAX pilots.
Garneau’s office said if Canada approves the aircraft to fly again, there will be conditions.
“These differences will include additional procedures on the flight deck and pre-flight, as well as differences in training,” said Garneau’s director of communications Amy Butcher in a statement to CBC News.
The office insisted Canada will not allow the plane to fly again until Transport Canada “is fully satisfied that all its safety concerns have been addressed, and that enhanced flight crew procedures and training are in place in Canada.”
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