Lee Kun-hee
Name: Lee Kun-hee
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Gender: Male
Birth Day: January 9, 1942
Age: 80
Country: South Korea
Zodiac Sign: Capricorn

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Lee Kun-hee

Lee Kun-hee was born on January 9, 1942 in South Korea (80 years old). Lee Kun-hee is an Entrepreneur, zodiac sign: Capricorn. Nationality: South Korea. Approx. Net Worth: $16 Billion. With the net worth of $16 Billion, Lee Kun-hee is the #95 richest person on earth all the time in our database.


South Korean president Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee Kun-hee for his involvement in the Samsung bribery scandal of 2008.

Net Worth 2020

$16 Billion
Find out more about Lee Kun-hee net worth here.


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Before Fame

After earning an undergraduate economics degree from Waseda University, he received a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University.


Biography Timeline


Lee Kun-hee was born on 9 January 1942 in Daegu, during the Japanese occupation of Korea. He was the third son of Lee Byung-chul, the founder of the Samsung group, which was set up as exporter of fruit and dried fish. He went on to get a degree in economics from Waseda University, a private university in Japan. He studied for a masters program in business from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., but did not get a degree.


Lee joined the Samsung Group in 1966 with the Tongyang Broadcasting Company, and later went on to work for Samsung's construction and trading company.


He took over the chairmanship of the conglomerate on 24 December 1987, two weeks after the death of his father, Lee Byung-chul. In 1993, believing that Samsung Group was overly focused on producing large quantities of low-quality goods and was not prepared to compete in quality, Lee famously said, "Change everything except your wife and kids". This call was an attempt to drive innovation at the company and to face up to the competition at that time from rivals like Sony Corporation. In a declaration now known as the 'Frankfurt Declaration', he had his executives gather in the German city in 1993 and called for a change in the company's approach to quality, even if it meant lower sales. The company went on to become the largest manufacturer of televisions beating Sony corporation in 2006.


Lee was convicted for having paid bribes to president Roh Tae-woo in 1996. He was subsequently pardoned by president Kim Young-sam.


Lee was treated for lung cancer in the late 1990s and was tested again for cancer in 2005, at the MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston, Texas, with no subsequent concerns being announced. He was hospitalized in Seoul in May 2014 after suffering a heart attack, and lapsed into a coma, which he remained in until his death on 25 October 2020, at the age of 78.


On 14 January 2008, Korean police raided Lee's home and office in an ongoing probe into accusations that Samsung was responsible for a slush fund used to bribe influential prosecutors, judges, and political figures in South Korea. On 4 April 2008, Lee denied allegations against him in the scandal. After a second round of questioning by the South Korean prosecutors, on 11 April 2008, Lee was quoted by reporters as saying, "I am responsible for everything. I will assume full moral and legal responsibility.” On 21 April 2008, he resigned and stated: "We, including myself, have caused troubles to the nation with the special probe; I deeply apologize for that, and I'll take full responsibility for everything, both legally and morally."

On 16 July 2008, The New York Times reported the Seoul Central District Court had found Lee guilty on charges of financial wrongdoing and tax evasion. Prosecutors requested that Lee be sentenced to seven years in prison and fined 350 billion won (approximately US$312 million). The court fined him 110 billion won (approximately US$98 million) and gave him a three-years suspended sentence. However, on 29 December 2009, South Korean president Lee Myung-bak pardoned Lee, stating that the intent of the pardon was to allow Lee to remain on the International Olympic Committee. In Lee Myung-bak's corruption trial, this pardon was revealed to have been in exchange for bribes; further bribery and other political corruption between former President Lee and Lee Kun-hee was also exposed.


On 24 March 2010, Lee announced his return to Samsung Electronics as its chairman. He continued in this position until 2014, when he suffered an incapacitating heart attack and his son, Lee Jae-yong, became the Samsung group's de facto leader. He is credited with having transformed Samsung into the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones, televisions, and memory chips. At the time of his death, the company was worth US$300 billion, and with an estimated net worth US$20.7 billion per Bloomberg's billionaire index, he was the richest person in South Korea; a position that he had held since 2007.


Lee's older brother Lee Maeng-hee and older sister Lee Sook-hee initiated legal action against him in February 2012, asking a South Korean court to award them shares of Samsung companies totaling US$850 million (913.563 billion won), which they claim their father willed to them. Court hearings began in May 2012. On 6 February 2014, courts in South Korea dismissed the case.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Lee Kun-hee is 81 years, 5 months and 1 days old. Lee Kun-hee will celebrate 82nd birthday on a Tuesday 9th of January 2024.

Find out about Lee Kun-hee birthday activities in timeline view here.

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