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Samsung recalls chairman’s ‘Frankfurt declaration’

By Korea Herald

Published : June 8, 2015 - 19:40

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Samsung Group on Monday aired a special TV program throughout group companies to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the “New Management Initiative” that was declared by chairman Lee Kun-hee.

In 1993, Lee, who took office as chairman in 1987, summoned some 200 executives to Frankfurt for 17 days to deliver a wake-up call.

It was also during the speech, more affectionately called the “Frankfurt declaration,” when he mentioned the famous phrase ― change everything except your wife and kids. 

Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee declares the “New Management Initiative” in Frankfurt in this file photo dated 1993. (Samsung Group) Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee declares the “New Management Initiative” in Frankfurt in this file photo dated 1993. (Samsung Group)

“We won’t survive without painful changes. Advanced countries, companies will dominate the market in the coming four to five years,” he said at the time.

The program recounted that the declaration not only overhauled the whole group structure, but also turned the then crisis into new opportunities.

“Since the declaration, we have seen stellar growth,” the program said. “Now it is time to start new challenges by facing the reality and making aggressive changes.”

The program was aired at 8 a.m. for about 15 minutes.

The chairman used to hold a big annual banquet on June 7 to celebrate the declaration. But since he was hospitalized in May 2014, Samsung has skipped the event out of respect for him.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)