Samsung Electronics’ management turmoil continued this week with the resignation of its chief executive, even as the business said it expected to post record third-quarter profits.
Kwon Oh-hyun, who has been with the business for 32 years, resigned citing an “unprecedented crisis” at the South Korean tech giant. He will step down as chief executive and vice chairman of Samsung Electronics in March next year.
The chief executive of Samsung Electronics resigned yesterday, saying the South Korean tech giant was facing an “unprecedented crisis”, even as it flagged record third-quarter profits. Kwon Oh-Hyun’s resignation comes as the company struggles to overcome a bribery scandal that sent Lee Jae-Yong, its de-facto head and heir to the Samsung empire, to jail.
“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that 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.
“Fortunately, the company is now producing best-ever results but this is merely a fruit of decisions and investment made in the past,” he said in a statement.
South Korea’s largest company has been seeking to move past a bribery scandal that saw Lee thrown into jail, and to overcome a damaging recall last year of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over exploding batteries.
Lee, who was found guilty in August of bribery, perjury and other charges relating to payments made by Samsung to the secret confidante of ousted president Park Geun-hye, is appealing his five-year sentence and says he is innocent.
Kwon’s sudden departure may be a calculated legal tactic to seek a softer punishment for Lee, said Shim Jung-Taik, an author of several books on Samsung and its corporate culture.
Kwon Oh-Hyun, chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics, speaks during the company’s annual general meeting at the Seocho office building in Seoul. “As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that 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.