Over four decades, Choi Gee-sung, the fourth son of a poor civil servant, worked his way to the top of South Korea's Samsung Group, one of the world's leading business empires, inspiring a legion of salaried workers.
The Samsung scandal is the latest in a series to mire South Korea's so-called chaebols - the powerful, family-run conglomerates that dominate Asia's fourth-largest economy - which are criticised for their often cozy ties to politicians.
Known for his tenacity, attention to detail, and focused drive, Choi took credit for helping Samsung Electronics, the group's crown jewel, overtake Nokia and Apple Inc in mobiles and Sony Corp in television manufacturing.
Born into a poor family during the Korean War in 1951, Choi joined Samsung in 1977 to "put food on the table" after studying at the prestigious Seoul National University.
As head of the 'control tower', Choi said he accepted greater responsibility than Lee, and the decisions he made over matters related to the scandal were inevitable to "protect" Samsung from political pressure.
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