Samsung Electronics said on Friday its CEO and Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun plans to resign from management, excavating concerns over a leadership vacuum at the tech giant after group scion Jay Y. Lee was jailed for bribery.
The surprise resignation of Kwon Oh-hyun came as he was estimated to take a bigger role following Lee’s arrest in February and the departures of other key executives in the wake of the bribery scandal.
The move came on the same day the South Korean smartphone maker forecast record third-quarter operating profit on the back of the memory chip business which Kwon was instrumental in building into the world leader.
The head of research firm, CEO Score, Park Ju-gun has said the timing is nonsensical. Samsung tipped record earnings, it’s going to be better in the fourth-quarter, and all that’s been driven by Kwon’s components business.
Kwon, 64, is seen as Samsung Group No. 2. As well as being chairman of the board and a board director, he heads the components business – including memory chips – and the display business.
In a statement, the man known as “Mr Chip” said the time had come to “start anew with new spirit and young leadership”.
“We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments; we are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now,” he added.
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