Samsung Electronics said on Oct. 13 that Vice Chairman and CEO Kwon Oh-hyun will not extend his current tenure in office, which expires in March next year.
Kwon who oversees Samsung’s semiconductor and display business divisions has been serving as de facto leader of the company following the imprisonment of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong. Samsung said he will retire from all his posts, including as board chairman.
“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” he said in a statement.
“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside and 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,” he said.
Kwon added the company is facing a grave situation despite making record earnings.
“Record earnings are based on investment made in the past. But we are still struggling to find the next growth engine for the future,” he said.
Samsung said Kwon plans to deliver his intention to Lee and other top brass in the near future and start researching for a successor.
Kwon joined Samsung in 1985 as an engineer for the company’s semiconductor research center in the US. He has played a key role in Samsung becoming the world’s largest memory chip maker. Since 2012, he has been serving as CEO and vice chairman of the chip business unit. In 2016, he also took the helm at Samsung Display.
Kwon was the nation’s highest-paid CEO in the first half of this year thanks to Samsung’s upbeat chip and display sales. His total compensation during the first six months reached almost 14 billion won (US$12.3 million), including 5 billion won incentives.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org