Lee’s Frankfurt Declaration was 23 years ago

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Lee’s Frankfurt Declaration was 23 years ago

Yesterday marked the 23rd year since Chairman Lee Kun-hee spearheaded a dramatic shift in the focus of Samsung Group toward quality rather than quantity.

Lee gathered company executives in Frankfurt and instructed them to change everything except their wives and children, which became known as the Frankfurt Declaration.

That shift in focus is considered to be the propeller of the group’s growth ever since.

This year, the group decided not to have any celebration because Lee remains hospitalized following a heart attack in 2014.

Still, Samsung Group’s internal corporate webpage paid tribute to the chairman’s drive on Tuesday.

A log-in page contained key remarks by the 74-year-old, including, “Repeated talk of change will not convince anyone. A verbal pledge for change is unnecessary. Action should speak for itself.”

Below the remarks were the lines: “June 7 marks the 23rd year of the New Management Declaration. We pray for a speedy recovery of the chairman who led the new management.”

Lee came up with the new direction for the group after reading a report written by Tamio Fukuda, who served as a design adviser for Samsung between 1989 and 1999.

The report revealed different problems surrounding Samsung.

Since the chairman’s hospitalization, his only son, Lee Jae-yong, has taken over the company as vice chairman of Samsung Electronics.

He advocates a more horizontal management structure and open corporate culture.


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]




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