Samsung chairman’s wife leaves art museums for personal reasons

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Mar 6, 2017 - 18:00
  • Updated : Mar 6, 2017 - 18:00

Hong Ra-hee, wife of Samsung Electronics head Lee Kun-hee, has decided to leave the two art museums she has chaired for years, Samsung Foundation for Culture said Monday.

The foundation that runs the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art and Ho-Am Art Museum in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, said she was stepping down as director for both institutions, citing personal reasons. 
Hong Ra-hee (The Korea Herald)

“We haven’t heard of any background on her resignation in detail,” said the foundation, adding she was leaving without naming a successor.

But she has been telling people around her that she wants to “lay everything down,” after her only son, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, was arrested last month, according to Yonhap News Agency, quoting industry officials. Chairman Lee Kun-hee has been hospitalized since April 2014, following a heart attack.

Hong, 72, has been the titular head of the Ho-Am Art Museum in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, which was established by her father-in-law and Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull, since 1995, and the Leeum, another private art museum in Yongsan, central Seoul, since 2004.

Hong is regarded as the most influential figure in the nation’s art circle, considering her assets, network and tastes in art collection.

In 2008, she left the two museums after a prosecutorial probe was launched into the creation of slush funds that involved her husband. She returned to the posts three years later.

By Cho Chung-un (