The second daughter of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee, Lee Seo-hyun has emerged as the guiding force behind the South Korean giant’s fashion and philanthropic interests. Today she plays a crucial role in her family’s company, where she heads the Samsung Welfare Foundation and the new operation committee at the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art. Having led the company’s fashion arm since 2016, Lee Seo-hyun previously served as the president of the Samsung C&T fashion group, where she was in charge of turning the company’s profits around in a five-year timespan. In 2018, Lee Seo-hyun resigned to focus on the company’s philanthropic efforts. She also owns 5.47 percent of the company’s stock.
Lee Seo-hyun has always expressed an interest in fashion and elected to study at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, for her college education. Following her graduation, Lee Seo-hyun returned to Korea. Her first key role was at Samsung C&T's fashion group, formerly known as Cheil Industries, a company involved in luxury goods.
Over the succeeding years Lee Seo-hyun was promoted to a Samsung Group divisional president, in recognition of her work expanding its fashion business, which included diversifying the business portfolios by fostering women's and retail business in the market, introducing imported brands and acquiring Colombo Via Della Spiga. The fashion division oversees inventory purchases, coordinates shipping, warehousing and licensing for brands including Diesel Kids and Catharine Malandrino. Under Seo-hyns lead, the company has seen success benchmarks such as the development of Bean Pole, a “neo traditional” Korean fashion brand. During her tenure she also oversaw a merger between Samsung SDI and the Samsung Everland divison to produce energy storage systems.She has also served as an advisory board member for the CFDA. Her appointment to the operation committee of the Samsung Museum of Art followed Lee’s mother, Hong Ra-hee’s defection from the role.
Lee Seo-hyun’s stokehold in the Samsung branches demonstrates that she is being groomed, along with her sister and brother, to control and guide Samsung in the future. The Samsung Welfare Foundation regularly gives back to the community, establishing Child Care Centres in low-income neighbourhoods, among other philanthropic endeavours.
In 2012, Forbes Asia named Lee Seo-hyun one of Asia’s most powerful business women to watch, alongside her older sister. She is also the only Korean to have made it to Forbes’ list of global young billionaires in 2013. Lee Seo-hyun is married with four children.