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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
This story contains biographical material compiled by former AP business writer YouKyung Lee.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
Saskatchewan suspends sports, expands masking as COVID-19 numbers rise – Saskatoon StarPhoenix
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Restrictions will be revisited by chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Dec. 17.
While the province is no longer seeing “super-spreader” events, Shahab said Saskatchewan has reported an average of more than 200 new cases per day over the past week, quadruple what it saw approximately a month ago.
“Some of the measures we’ve made in the last few weeks have made a difference, but the difference has not been enough to bring our numbers down,” Shahab said.
U of S epidemiologist Dr. Cordell Neudorf said the latest set of restrictions is positive, but warned they might not be sufficient given the extent of community transmission.
His advice is to hunker down and support local businesses via curbside pickup or delivery, he said.
“The danger is that all we’re going to do is affect the slope, and the cases are just going to keep going up, and that might be enough to take our hospitals over capacity in the coming weeks. That’s the danger in this kind of move.”
Moe said the government is considering financial relief for businesses affected by new restrictions, but would not say which businesses may received it, or when further details might be provided.
He said the new measures are “significant” and expressed confidence they will reduce the infection rate.
However, he did not rule out further steps in the weeks ahead.
“Had (previous measures) worked perfectly, we wouldn’t be here today,” he said.
The province reported a record 111 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 19 in intensive care. Seventy-nine people were reported to have recovered.
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Premier Scott Moe said a lockdown similar to the one that occurred in the spring is not necessary at this point because we now have a better understanding of the virus than we did back then.
“We know what we need to do to reduce the spread of this virus to keep ourselves and others safe,” he said. “We need to just slow down a little bit.”
These additional health measures come into effect at 12:01 a.m., Friday November 27 and, along with current health measures, remain in effect until Dec. 17, 2020. At that time they will be reviewed by the provincial Chief Medical Health Officer.
Enforcement of public health orders is permitted under The Public Health Act, 1994.
During the Wednesday press conference, SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said the SHA was working on setting up a drive-thru testing site in Prince Albert, he did not provide additional details.
Restaurants and licensed establishments measures
Beginning on Friday all restaurants and licensed establishments are limited to seat four at a single table. If there are barriers between restaurants they must be paced two metres apart but if there are none there must be three metres between tables.
Restaurants and licensed establishments must maintain guest/reservation information on all patrons and the curfew on liquor service remains in effect.
Performance and Gaming Venues
Capacity will be restricted to 30 people at all casinos, bingo halls, arenas, live theatres, movie theatres, performing arts venues and any other facilities that are currently supporting a capacity of 150 people.
Where any of these facilities offer food or beverage service, they must keep the activity separate (i.e. cordoned off) from the food and beverage service. No food or drink may be in the activity area.
Indoor Public Event Gatherings
Indoor events such as pubkic banquets, conferences, funerals and weddings in public buildings will be limited to 30 people.
Food or beverages may not be present or served. Note that the maximum allowable gathering size for private gatherings in the home setting remains at five. This includes in the home or in buildings located on the private property (e.g. garages, sheds). If your immediate family is five or greater, you cannot have additional visitors. Individuals, recurring caregivers, support personnel (i.e. therapists, nursing staff) and tradespersons (i.e. housekeeper, plumber) are permitted, though they should maintain two metre distancing and be masked during service provision.Gatherings of any size beyond your immediate household are strongly discouraged at this time.
Sports, Fitness and Dance
All of team or group sports, games, activities, competitions, recitals and practices are suspended. This includes amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Examples include hockey, curling, racquet sports, cheerleading, dance practices in group setting, etc.
Athletes and dancers 18 years of age and under may continue practicing, conditioning and skills training in groups of eight or fewer, abiding by the required mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants at all times.
Individual groups of eight may not share a training/rehearsal surface or space at the same time.
Coaches /trainers are not included in the training group numbers as long as they are masked and maintain a minimum physical distance of three metres.
Fitness activities and group fitness classes in groups of eight or fewer continues to be permitted, for all ages. Mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants must be maintained.
Places of Worship
All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, including wedding, funeral and baptismal services. No food or drink may be present or served.
Mandatory Masking Expanded
Mandatory, non-medical mask use will be required during all indoor fitness activities, with aquatic activities the only exception.Mandatory, non-medical masking will be extended to:
- All students, employees and visitors in all schools and day cares (except while consuming food or beverage or engaging in aquatic fitness activities). Children ages 0-2 years are exempt from wearing masks. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if they are able to;
- All employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces, even in those areas which the public does not have access (e.g. construction sites, manufacturing facilities); and
- All residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal correctional facilities.
Note that masking continues to be required in indoor public areas that have installed barriers.
Malls and Retail
Retail businesses must enhance the expectation of mask use and mitigation measures (reduced traffic, directional flow signage, hand sanitizer, etc.) through signage and staff training.
Large retail locations are required to limit customer access to 50 per cent capacity or four square metres of space per person, whichever is less. Large retail locations are defined as retailers with a square footage larger than 20,000 square feet, and 50 per cent capacity is determined by half of the specified fire-code capacity.
On Twitter: @princealbertnow
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