15 October, 2017
"As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company (to) start anew", Kwon Oh-hyun, chairman of the board and CEO of Samsung Electronics, said in a statement. Even though not explicitly mentioned, the obvious reference here is the arrest of the leader of the Samsung group, Lee Jae-yong along with four other top-ranking executives of the company on corruption charges. Lee Jae-yong's conviction was part of a bribery scandal that reached all the way to the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, who was impeached previous year is also serving time in prison.
Despite what Kwon characterizes as a management "crisis", Samsung is doing pretty well financially. "It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time".
Meanwhile, according to commentators, the surprise resignation of Samsung's chip and display head came amid expectations he would take on bigger roles following Lee's arrest in February and the departures of other key executives in the wake of the bribery scandal.
However, Samsung's legitimate business would appear to be ticking over nicely, with the company revealing its financial forecasts for the rest of the year. Oh-Hyun Kwon will leave not only that post but also his positions as CEO of Samsung Display, head of the company's components arm, and Vice Chairman.
"We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments", he stated.More news: British PM to tell her divided government to 'shape up'
The move comes just as Samsung has announced record profits, thanks largely to its memory chip business, prompting one industry analysts to describe its timing as "nonsensical".
With Kwon's resignation, there's uncertainty with the leadership at Samsung.
Kwon first joined Samsung back in 1985 as a researcher of the company's Semiconductor Research Institute in the US. He also served as president and head of the System LSI Division and as president and head of the Semiconductor Business before becoming CEO of the company in 2012.