The chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Kun-hee, who helped transform the business into a technology giant, was in stable condition Sunday after suffering a heart attack, the company said.
Mr. Lee, 72, was recovering at Samsung Medical Center in Seoul, said the company, which declined to comment further on his condition. According to Reuters, he was admitted to a hospital Saturday night before being transferred to the medical center.
While he has not directly overseen many of Samsung's products, including its popular smartphones, Mr. Lee is credited with shaping Samsung into one of the most profitable consumer electronics companies in the world. The company is now a leader in smartphones and flat-screen televisions, as well as semiconductors and washing machines.
Mr. Lee has previously been treated for lung cancer and pneumonia, and his latest health problem will almost certainly renew calls for a concrete succession plan. His son, Lee Jae-yong, who served as the company's chief operating officer until 2012 and is now the Samsung's vice chairman, is widely expected to eventually take over from his father.
Though the elder Mr. Lee's contributions to Samsung have been vital, the implications to Samsung of his declining health do not seem to carry as much weight as they might at other companies. At Apple, for instance, its former chief executive Steven P. Jobs had a hands-on role in the company's creations and inventions, and his death raised concerns among investors that the company might not continue to produce successful, innovative products.