Samsung holds memorial service for late founder

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Nov 19, 2015 - 18:16
  • Updated : Nov 19, 2015 - 18:16

The owner family of the nation’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group held the 28th memorial service for its late founder Lee Byung-chull on Thursday.

Samsung Electronics vice chairman and heir apparent Lee Jae-yong presided over the event on behalf of his ailing father, chairman Lee Kun-hee, who has been hospitalized since suffering a heart attack in May last year. 

His mother Hong Ra-hee and two sisters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun attended the event that was held at a family burial ground in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, in the morning. 

Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee’s wife Hong Ra-hee’s vehicle enters the Samsung family’s burial ground in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Thursday. Yonhap

Some 50 Samsung executives, including Samsung Future Strategy Office head Choi Gee-sung and Samsung Electronics vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, also joined the mourning service.

Belying expectations, however, other “pan-Samsung” families from CJ and Shinsegae visited the site separately in the afternoon, hinting at no immediate signs of reconciliation among them.

CJ Group held a separate memorial service at the group’s conference hall in Seoul. The event was hosted by Lee Sun-ho, son of chairman Lee Jay-hyun, who has received a suspended sentence at a hospital due to his poor health.

The Samsung founder had originally designated his first son, Lee Maeng-hee, as his successor in the early 1960s. But he finally chose his third son Lee Kun-hee who took office as the Samsung chairman in 1976.

The eldest son focused on Cheil Jedang, now CJ Group, until its separation from Samsung in 1993. CJ is currently led by his son Lee Jay-hyun.

The relationship between Samsung and CJ turned sour after Lee Maeng-hee filed a lawsuit against his younger brother in 2012 to demand a 940 billion won ($808 million) share of his sibling’s inherited wealth.

In August, Lee Maeng-hee died of lung cancer before their differences could be resolved. However, there were hints of a reconciliation between the two families when the Samsung side attended his funeral. 

By Lee Ji-yoon (