This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Harvard Business Review released a list of the most successful CEOs. Steve Jobs ranked at the top spot, but just below him was the CEO of Samsung. And for good reason. Under Jong-Yong, Samsung was able to compete with the smart phone giant, at times even eclipsing Apple with smart design and sleek products. Samsung also became one of the world’s largest producers of flat screen TVs, and memory chips.

Jong-Yong graduated with an engineering degree from Seoul University in South Korea, and joined Samsung right out of school in 1966. By 1990, he’d begun his first foray into the corporate world of Samsung. His first title change came when he took the role of vice president for the electronics group.

A year later, he’d become CEO of the consumer electronics group, and then CEO of the Japanese office in 1995.

By the time he worked his way up to CEO, the company had seen some financial issues. He made the hasty decision to sell off some of Samsung’s assets, closing loss-making product lines like pagers and dishwashers. He also took established business executives and replaced them with younger, hungrier recruits. This led to a 100% jump in productivity for the company, while others in the industry crashed.

Today, Samsung’s Galaxy series of phones is one of the hottest selling products in the smart phone market. While their stock hovers below Apple’s, the company has shown resilience and a willingness to innovate. Although, Apple has accused the company of stealing intellectual property in order to manufacture its devices.

Samuel Phineas Upham

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Twitter page.