Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee arrives for questioning by special prosecutors probing alleged corruption in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, April 4, 2008.
The chairman of Samsung Electronics suffered a heart attack on Sunday, according to reports. Lee Kun-hee, who is 72 years old and has been chairman of Samsung Electronics since 1987, is now in stable condition after he was admitted to a hospital near his home in Seoul.
Lee began to have trouble breathing late Saturday, and doctors needed to perform CPR on him after he was admitted to Samsung Medical Center, the Wall Street Journal reported. During a surgery on Sunday, doctors took steps to widen his arteries and he's now able to breathe on his own, according to a report from AFP. It's not known how long Lee will be hospitalized.
Lee took over as chairman of Samsung after the death of his father, Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul. Although he has been content to leave day-to-day management of Samsung to the company's three CEOs,
Lee is widely believed to be involved in all strategic decisions at the companyLee is widely believed to be involved in all strategic decisions at the company. He's also the company's largest individual shareholder, owning about 3.4% of the company, according to Samsung's reports. Forbes estimates his personal net worth at $12.9 billion.
Just as Lee was groomed to take over the chairmanship from his father, Lee's son, Lee Jae Yong (aka Jay Y. Lee), is poised to take over the job if his father were to ever die or become incapacitated. Lee Jr. was promoted to vice chairman in late 2012 after serving as the company's COO. Although the younger Lee is the clear heir apparent at Samsung, he doesn't currently hold an operational title at the company.
It was the senior Lee who transformed Samsung from a brand known mostly for low-cost appliances to an electronics company that competes aggressively across all categories, and is also the No. 1 smartphone maker in the world. He famously told his executive team in 1993 to "change everything except your wife and kids" as he pushed forward a plan to remake the company.
Samsung stock is up 3.97% Monday morning following the news.