Samsung chairman donates more than $17 million to help young job seekers

October 22, 2015
Lee Kun-hee Samsung Electronics Chairman

Lee Kun-hee
Samsung Electronics Chairman

By Kim Yoo-chul

Ailing Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee has donated 20 billion won (US$17.4 million) to a government-initiated fund to help operate various programs for young job seekers.

The decision by the chairman has increased the amount of Samsung’s donation to the government fund to 34.3 billion won, Samsung said.

“In order to help the government’s drive to cut the rate of joblessness for young job seekers in Korea, Chairman Lee decided to donate 20 billion won,” Lee Joon, chief communications officer at Samsung Future Strategy Office, told reporters in a briefing, Thursday.

The office is a control tower to handle owner-related issues and those needed for key strategic decisions by affiliates.

The communications officer said Samsung executives also plan to follow with the decision by its chairman. “Up to 5 billion won donated by Samsung executives will also be delivered to the fund,” Lee told reporters.

The chairman’s only son and Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong also offered his donation to the fund.

“We can’t comment on how much of a donation the vice chairman made as this is private information,” the communications officer said during the briefing held at the Seocho Tower, southern Seoul.

The Samsung chairman has been hospitalized for more than a year after heart attacks. Samsung officials said the health condition of the chairman is “still safe.”

The fund was created on Sept. 15 at the direct request of President Park Geun-hye.

The government asked big conglomerates in Korea to join the initiatives and Samsung Group is the strongest supporter for the move.

Chief executives at leading companies, politicians, well-known celebrities, athletes and heads of local provincial governments joined the fund. The fund is led by Hwang Cheol-joo, CEO of Jusung Engineering, a local chip and display equipment supplier.

The youth unemployment rate in Korea reached the highest level since 2000. Full-time employment opportunities are becoming more scarce. Therefore, in order to secure a source of income, many youths accept contractual or part-time positions that offer little or no job security.