Samsung on alert over chief’s heart problem

By 박한나
  • Published : May 11, 2014 - 14:17
  • Updated : May 11, 2014 - 21:15
Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee, who is recovering from a heart stent placement early this morning at Samsung Medical Center, had underwent another heart surgery just a few weeks ago, a corporate insider told The Korea Herald.

“The chairman had minor heart surgery at the same hospital a few weeks ago after he came back to Korea on April 17,” a corporate official confirmed under the condition of anonymity. The official did not confirm the exact date Lee had the surgery.
Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee (Yonhap)

Samsung’s spokesperson Lee Kyung-hwa, however, denied that he had heart surgery.

Lee’s two surgeries have rekindled concerns over his health.

The 72-year-old chairman has been suffering from respiratory complications since he had lung surgery in the late 1990s. As he is cautious with his health, he often travels to Hawaii or Okinawa in Japan during the winter to stay in a warmer region.

In the latest development regarding his health, Lee had a sudden respiratory problem late Saturday night and received cardiopulmonary resuscitation at a hospital near his house. Then, he was moved to Samsung Medical Center and the stent placement took place on Sunday morning.

Samsung Group confirmed that Lee is now in stable condition.

Lee Jay-yong, the only son of Lee and Samsung Electronics vice chairman, returned to Korea on Sunday morning and rushed to the hospital. He was on a business trip in the United States with Shin Jong-kyun, CEO of Samsung Electronics.

As Lee’s health problems seem to be progressively more serious, Samsung’s corporate succession, which has already started taking shape, is expected to further accelerate.

Last Thursday, Samsung SDS, a key IT unit of the country’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group, said it plans to go public on the main bourse by the end of this year, a move that industry watchers linked to the group’s management succession to the next generation of the owner family. The details of the listing procedure will be released later in the month.

The three children of Lee are expected to raise more than 2 trillion own from the IPO, which could cover the cost for the succession.

Lee Jay-yong, owns 11.3 percent stake in Samsung SDS. The chairman’s daughter Lee Boo-jin, who heads Hotel Shilla, another Samsung affiliate, held a 3.9 percent stake in Samsung SDS, and her younger sister Lee Seo-hyun, head of the fashion division in Samsung Everland, the group’s de facto holding firm, claimed 3.9 percent.

Other Samsung affiliates have been going through restructuring in the first quarter of this year, with Samsung SDI merging with Cheil Industries, and Samsung General Chemicals taking over Samsung Petrochemical.

By Shin Ji-hye (