Samsung CEO Kwon to step down even as chip business thrives

Henrietta Brewer
October 13, 2017

"As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that the time has now come for the company [to] start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry", Kwon said.

However, in a sign of good news for the company, its estimated operating profits for the third quarter of 14.5 trillion won (US$12.8 billion) marked a record for quarterly profit, almost tripling the 5.2 trillion won earned a year earlier.

The "unprecedented crisis" Kwon referenced is the conviction of Lee earlier this year on bribery charges, landing the 49-year-old exec a five-year prison sentence.

Ltd. announced Kwon Oh-hyun, CEO and vice chairman, had chose to step down from his role on October 13, 2017.

Kwon first joined Samsung back in 1985 as a researcher of the company's Semiconductor Research Institute in the US. While Samsung was battered past year following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, it seems to have bounced back and will soon announce a much rosier financial position.

He added, the company is making record earnings, which are consequences of decisions and investments from the past. We are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now.

A veteran of the embattled firm, Kwon had been serving as one of three co-CEOs at crown jewel Samsung Electronics.

Prices of memory chips have skyrocketed globally due to the growing use of social media, mobile data, cloud computing and the emerging internet of things, which have combined to leave supplies tight.

SK Kim, an analyst with Daiwa Capital Markets, said that Kwon's departure is unusual because when Samsung announces management changes, they typically take effect immediately.

The company has a league of executives who manage day-to-day operations, but has usually relied on the leadership and the visions of founding family members for direction. He will serve till his term as Samsung Electronics' chairman of the board ends in March 2018. The former South Korean President - Geun-Hye Park - had been impeached for accepting bribes in exchange for political influence. Hearings on his appeal and those of four other convicted Samsung executives began October 12.

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