Samsung Electronics Co Ltd announced on Friday its CEO and Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-Hyun plans to step down from management as it estimated record third-quarter gains on the back of soaring memory chip prices.
The 64-year old Mr Kwon has appeared as an important leader at the $325 billion tech behemoth. He serves as co-chief executive and vice chairman. The surprise resignation comes as Kwon was expected to take a bigger role following the arrest of Samsung Group scion and heir apparent Jay Y Lee in February this year on bribery charges.
“I believe the time has come for the company to start a new with the new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges,” Kwon, who is seen as Samsung Group No. 2, said in a statement.
He also added, “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.”
The world’s biggest manufacturer of memory chips, smartphones and TVs is set to smash its annual profit record this year, thanks partly to soaring demand for memory chips. Semiconductors were Samsung’s top earner in the three months through June, making a record 8 trillion won ($7.20 billion).
The Company mentioned that Kwon would serve out his term as chairman of the board and board director until March 2018. He is also not stepping down immediately from his two other roles. A Samsung Electronics spokeswoman declined to comment on the exact timing of succession and potential successors for Kwon’s roles.
“I‘m worried about a leadership vacuum at a time when Lee is absent from management,” Chung Sun-sup, chief executive of research firm Chaebul.com, said following Kwon’s announcement.
He also added, the leadership changes also could be a chance for a new generation to appear.