Samsung Heir's Mother Resigns as Director of Powerful Art Museums
SEOUL, March 6 (Yonhap) -- Hong Ra-hee has resigned as director of the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art for unspecified personal reasons, the museum said Monday.
Hong, one of the most influential figures in the Korean art scene, is the wife of Lee Kun-hee, the incapacitated chairman of Samsung Electronics, and the mother of Lee Jae-yong, vice chairman of the electronics company and the de facto leader of Samsung Group.
Her son was arrested last month on charges of bribery and other offenses in the scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye's impeachment in the National Assembly.
It is said that she has often expressed her frustration over recent developments over her son's imprisonment on Feb. 17 and hinted at stepping down.
Industry sources say Hong might have felt too stressed out to carry on her responsibilities as museum director, which demands active socializing, while her husband has been bedridden for three years and her only son is behind bars.
Simultaneously, she is also stepping down from the directorship of the Ho-Am Art Museum, a private museum that houses art pieces collected by Samsung founder Lee Byung-chull.
"We haven't heard anything about why she is resigning," an official from the museum said, adding that it hasn't been decided who will succeed her.
Hong graduated from Seoul National University, majoring in applied arts, and in January 1995 assumed the directorship of Ho-Am Museum of Art founded by her father-in-law.
She took the top job at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in October 2004 when it opened. In 2008, she left Leeum and Samsung Culture Foundation amid prosecutors' investigation into a slush fund scandal at Samsung and returned to her job in March 2011.'