Lee Myungbak Net Worth $23.6 Million
South Korean business executive and politician who’s the president of South Korea since February 2008. His net worth is estimated at $23.6 million. Lee was born in wartime Japan and was the fifth of seven kids. They settled in his dad’s hometown of P’ohang, and, to help support his family, Lee sold rice snacks through the day and attended school at night. He enrolled at Korea University, Seoul, in 1961, paying his tuition by working as a garbage collector. He was imprisoned in 1964 for participating in demonstrations from the normalization of relations between South Korea and Japan.
Lee was blacklisted by the government for his student activism, which limited his job prospects with some of the larger established businesses. He joined the fledgling Hyundai Construction company in 1965. During the time, it’d fewer than 100 workers, and Lee advanced rapidly through the executive ranks. When he stepped down as CEO in 1992, the Hyundai Group had some 160,000 workers, and its products ranged from autos to heavy machines to consumer electronics.
Lee entered politics in 1992, winning election to the National Assembly as a member of the conservative New Korea Party. He was reelected in 1996, only to step down two years later after he was found guilty of breaking campaign spending limitations. He withdrew from politics and spent a year of self-imposed exile in the USA. His administration focused on enhancing the livability of the central business district, most notably via an ambitious urban beautification project. This included the restoration of the Cheonggye stream, a downtown waterway paved over by Hyundai some four decades earlier. While business owners initially balked in the project’s $900 million price tag, it proved to be a success with both Seoul natives and tourists when it opened in September 2005. Upon conclusion of his period as mayor, Lee successfully campaigned for the presidency of South Korea, winning election by a landslide on Dec. 19, 2007. A 2001 business scandal surfaced in the days before the election, however, as well as the issue was directed to a completely independent counsel.