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Milestones
Learn about our past footsteps, challenges, and innovations.

Milestones : Learn about our past footsteps, challenges, and innovations.

Dong Chan Lee

Apr. 1, 1922 ~ NOV. 8, 2014

Companies are the mainstay of a national economy, the prime movers of social development, and the livelihood of workers.
Therefore, all businessmen are called to leave behind a rich legacy, both spiritual and material for future generations. (from the lecture given at Chung Ang University's College of Political Science and Economics in 1987)

One of the First Generation Businessmen Who Drove Korea's Economic Development

Former Chairperson Dong Chan Lee returned to Korea from Japan after the restoration of national independence and witnessed the tragic sight of people ragged and starving due to the repercussions of the Korean War. Lee harbored the determination to revive the economy of his devastated homeland and uphold the spirit of patriotism and community service by producing warm clothes for people. After jumping into the business field, he opened up the textile industry for the first time in Korea. He opened the Seoul branch of Samkyeong Corporation and Kaemyeong Corporation, which is the precursor of KOLON Trading Company, in 1954 and jumped full scale into the trade business. This ignited the Nylon Innovation of Korea. On April 12, 1957, Lee founded Korea Nylon with his father and former chairperson Won Man Lee. Korea Nylon began to produce Korea's first nylon yarns, which marked a milestone in the history of Korea's textile industry.

Aim High But Keep the Eyesight Low and Humble

"Aim high but look down." This is the management philosophy of Dong Chan Lee attained through his experience of mountain climbing. He learned that each humble step taken deligently leads you to the summit and boosts your morale. As this philosophy indicates, Lee refrained from making any rash, hasty decisions and led the entire KOLON Group to take one careful step at a time. He stressed that, while it may feel more arduous and frustrating to try to catch up with others at the tail end, it would definitely feel more rewarding and fulfilling to be able to take the lead and guide those behind you when climbing a mountain. He often shared with employees how this lesson can be applied to business management practices.
As can be seen here, mountain climbing for Lee was not just a hobby but self-cultivation, through which he obtained life wisdom. In accordance with his belief that a company is not a private possession but an asset shared by all people, he strived to ensure integrity in management and contribute to the advancement of the nation through business. His legacy is what makes KOLON become better today than it was yesterday and dream of a future even better than today.

Aiming to Make a Better Place to Live

Former Chairperson Dong Chan Lee stressed the importance of reaching out to communities and actively took part in community outreach activities. He served as Vice Chairperson of the Korea Employers Federation and executive of the Federation of Korean Industries. He also made significant contributions to increasing the prestige of Korea through sports while serving as Chairperson of the Korea Basketball Association and as a member of the Korean Olympic Committee. He led the public to take interest in golf as Chairperson of the Korea Golf Association and initiated the annual KOLON Marathon Tournament in 1985 to promote the advancement of the two non-popular sports. KOLON Marathon Tournament has played an instrumental role in fostering and expanding the pool of talented marathoners in Korea. Lee served as the first chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and contributed to the successful staging of the event and the expansion of stadiums dedicated to soccer. Lee's lifelong belief was that it is a businessman's duty to seek co-prosperity with others in the community and build a society oriented towards sharing and growing with others. After retiring from his managerial position, Lee took office as the chairperson of the directors at Oh-woon Cultural Foundation and engaged in many community outreach programs, including the campaign entitled A Better Place to Live.