Samsung Electronics Co CEO resigns

The chief executive of Samsung Electronics resigned Friday, saying the South Korean tech giant was facing an "unprecedented crisis' even as it flagged record third-quarter profits". Samsung Electronics said Kwon will also retire from his board seat at Samsung Display Co.

His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case.

Kwon has been working as de facto head of the company following the imprisonment of the Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong. Kwon will also be leaving his posts at the company's board of directors and Samsung Display, effective on March 2018.

In a letter sent to all employees, Kwon said that announcing his retirement was the most hard thing for him to do, but now was the right time and that he believes his decision is in the best interest of the company. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off".

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While expressing concern that the company was "confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out", alluding to the conviction of its leader, Kwon said he hopes his resignation can be a good opportunity for the company to turn things around and make bold attempts at innovation. Samsung hasn't given out information on the timing of succession, nor did it share who will take on Kwon's responsibilities when he leaves next year. While Lee Kun-hee is expected to keep the title of "Chairman" for life, medical issues have caused him to step away from Samsung, and Lee Jae-yong had been running the company since 2014. Semiconductors were Samsung's top earner in the three months through June, bringing in a record eight trillion won (S$9.6 billion). But it could also encompass Samsung's recall fiasco with the Note7 smartphone a year ago, with the flagship smartphone having to be pulled off of market shelves due to a fire hazard with its charging mechanism.

Kwon joined Samsung in 1985 as a researcher in the company's Semiconductor Research Institute in the United States.

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun has announced his resignation from the company.

  • Rita Burton