SEOUL (Reuters) - The chairman of South Korea’s LG Group, Koo Bon-moo, instrumental to transforming the country’s fourth-largest conglomerate into a global brand, passed away on Sunday after a year-long battle with brain disease.

LG Group chairman Koo Bon-moo is seen in this undated handout photo provided by LG Group on May 20, 2018. LG Group/Handout via REUTERS

LG Group said in a statement Koo, 73, had been ill for a year.

A group official said Koo had been fighting a brain disease and had undergone surgery. The official declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

“Becoming the third chairman of LG at the age of 50 in 1995, Koo established key three businesses - electronics, chemicals and telecommunications - led a global company LG, and contributed to driving (South Korea’s) industrial competitiveness and national economic development,” LG said.

Under Koo’s leadership, the conglomerate changed its corporate brand to LG from Lucky Goldstar and sold LG’s semiconductor business to Hyundai, now SK Hynix Inc (000660.KS), under government-led restructuring in the wake of the Asia financial crisis in the late 1990s.

Slideshow (3 Images)Major affiliates are LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS), display maker LG Display (034220.KS) and electric car battery maker LG Chem (051910.KS). Prior to its chairman’s death, LG Group had established a holding company in order to streamline ownership structure and begin the process of succession. The country’s powerful family-run conglomerates are implementing generational succession amid growing calls from the government and public to improve transparency and corporate governance. LG Corp (003550.KS), a holding company of the electronics-to-chemicals conglomerate, said on Thursday its longtime chairman was unwell and planned to nominate his son to its board of

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