QUEBEC CITY, Canada Last month, I met Jong Yong Yun, the former vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics, who was here to receive honorary membership from IEEE, the world's most prestigious engineering society.
It was a big deal for him, and for Samsung.
My interview with Yun, a man who pushed Samsung and its brand to new heights, was a huge deal for me—and for EE Times, for that matter. We didn't know what to expect.
While talking to analysts and a about dozen people from chip or technology suppliers that have worked with Samsung, I realized that everyone knew Yun as a legend but nobody had met him in person.
Clearly, Samsung is a huge company and it doesn't often trot out its CEO in public—especially outside South Korea.
However, the more I researched Samsung before the interview, the more I felt convinced I would be meeting an aggressive, chest-thumping, alpha-male corporate executive.
After all, here was a guy who almost singlehandedly turned a no-brand company into the leader in virtually every major market in which it competes—from LCDs to mobile handsets and memory devices.
Moreover, Yun could preach the importance of "quality." He could boast of how he took public brand recognition of Samsung beyond that of Sony.
He could talk about management skills that kept all his senior executives intensely motivated to create and refine synergy among Samsung's various divisions—without adding layers of bureaucracy.
I also formed my preconceptions based on anecdotes about Samsung executives (below Yun) who love to bloviate about their macho, take-no-prisoners business practices.