A 135-YEAR LEGACY: CONSTANT ENTREPRENEURSHIP BEYOND THE MILLENNIUM
As we enter 2024, I wish everyone a Happy New Year and good health!
Last year marked a significant milestone for Lee Kum Kee as we celebrated our 135th anniversary. Spanning three centuries and generations of hard work, we have witnessed the transformation of Lee Kum Kee from a small oyster sauce workshop to a diversified and global enterprise. Each generation has made its mark in its respective eras, laying a solid foundation for the development of Lee Kum Kee and exemplifying the spirit of “Constant Entrepreneurship”. Every generation has embraced an unceasing pursuit of innovation, breakthroughs, and excellence.
The birth of Lee Kum Kee began with an accidental invention of oyster sauce by our founder, Mr. Lee Kum Sheung, in 1888. In 1920, the second generation, Mr. Lee Shiu Nan and his brother, took over the family business. Then, in 1972, Mr. Lee Man Tat, the third descendant, took the helm as the Chairman of Lee Kum Kee Group. During the 50 years of his leadership, Sauce business became globalized and the product portfolio diversified. In the 1980s, the fourth generation of the Lee Family joined the company. Embodying the spirit of “We Are Greater Than I”, they made concerted effort to expand the diversified business scope while also playing the “Stewardship” role, dedicated to promoting family and business succession.
In 2022, I was honoured to be appointed as the Executive Chairman of Lee Kum Kee Group, and I am deeply grateful for the trust placed in me by the Owners Council. In addition to my role as the Executive Chairman, Chief Invisible Officer, and Chief Happiness Officer of Lee Kum Kee Group, I also serve as the Chairman of the Family Investment, the Chairman of six Business Units of the Group, and the Director of H Properties and Happiness Capital. Taking up these thirteen roles has been a heavy responsibility that exceeds my expectations – Not only did I set out on the journey with the partners, employees, and even their families, but I also acted as a steersman, navigating through immense challenges. The road ahead is undoubtedly demanding, but I am committed to devoting entirely to creating history for the Group.
The success of Lee Kum Kee Group is built upon its unique corporate culture. The business structure of the Group derives from an “inverted triangle” mindset (see diagram below). We highlight a consumer-centric focus, of which we prioritize the needs of our customers/users. With employees being our internal customers, we care about them as we believe that happy employees will bring happy consumers/users. By implementing the “Autopilot Leadership Model”, management creates a high-trust and delightful atmosphere, leading employees to work together towards common goals. Under such an innovative framework, the Board of Directors transforms into an “Autopilot Board,” with Board members frequently inquiring, “How can we support business development?”
Unlike the traditional centralized management structure, the inverted triangle structure allows the Group to render full support to its business units. Maintaining such agility is paramount to the Group by facilitating autonomous and efficient decision-making among business units.
We are constantly compelled to transform in this ever-changing and highly competitive era. To overcome external challenges from various fronts, our business units must undergo breakthroughs. The spirit of “Constant Entrepreneurship” has guided Lee Kum Kee through 135 years, and I truly believe that as long as we uphold the spirit, we can convert challenges into opportunities, strive for business continuity, and transcend the millennium!
As the Year of the Dragon approaches, may I extend my best wishes to everyone for good fortune and success in the coming year.
Mr. Sammy Lee
Lee Kum Kee Group