Samsung Chief Lee Kun-Hee recovering after heart attack

May 13, 2014

Samsung Electronics Co. chairman Lee Kun-hee was in stable condition and receiving treatment under sedation, but will need more time to regain consciousness, his doctors said Tuesday. (Yonhap)

By Kim Yoo-chul

Lee Kun-hee is recovering and may regain consciousness today, Samsung Group said, Monday.

The Samsung Electronics chairman, 72, remains unconscious after suffering a heart attack.

Lee was taken off an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine that helps lung and heart functions, said Lee Joon, head of Samsung Communications Team, in a briefing at its office in southern Seoul. This may indicate his condition is getting better.

“We are told ECMO procedures are no longer necessary. The chairman’s condition is stable and his brain is not damaged,” Lee said.

Samsung said the chairman’s wife Hong Ra-hee was staying with the 72-year-old tycoon. Lee experienced shortness of breath on Saturday night and was immediately taken to Soonchunhyang Hospital.

He suffered a cardiac arrest, prompting a medical team to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Lee is now in Samsung Medical Center.

Lee Joon said the chairman’s condition won’t impact on day-to-day operations across the Samsung affiliates.

“Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is checking on the firm’s main pending issues at his office.”

Samsung said Vice Chairman Lee had a luncheon meeting with executives, and discussed important matters.

The conglomerate is accelerating efforts to realign its business structure and to transfer control to Lee’s three children including Jae-yong, and daughters Lee Boo-jin and Lee Seo-hyun.

Samsung declined to comment on succession plans.

But Samsung sources said the group will be split into three key parts with Jae-yong managing consumer electronics-related businesses, while Boo-jin and Seo-hyun handling the group’s construction-, hotel-, leisure-, and media content-related units.

Recently, Samsung SDS said the group’s IT solutions affiliate is planning an initial public offering this year, aimed at helping Jae-yong secure needed inheritance tax, which is estimated to be at least 5 trillion won.

Lee’s only son is the biggest shareholder of SDS with 11.25 percent, followed by Boo-jin and Seo-hyun with 3.9 percent, each.