Economy

Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to retire after March 2018

Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to retire after March 2018

The move came on the same day the South Korean smartphone-maker forecast record third-quarter operating profit on the back of the memory chip business, which Mr Kwon was instrumental in building into the world leader. Analysts forecast Samsung's 2017 net income almost doubled from 2016 and they expect Samsung to outdo its annual financial results for the next few years, thanks to its position as the world's largest maker of the semiconductor group known as memory chips that are used for mobile devices and computer servers.

Kwon is 65 and has been the face of Samsung in the absence of the company's de facto chief, Lee Jae-yong. Operating income nearly tripling to a record 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) in the three months ended September, according to preliminary results.

"The timing is nonsensical".

"We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments", he stated.

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"I believe the time has come for the company to start anew with new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges", said Kwon in a statement. He also has served as the CEO of Samsung Display since 2016.

Samsung announced yesterday that Kwon Oh-hyun will be resigning as the one of the company's CEOs.

The global chip industry is undergoing a major shift with Japan's Toshiba partnering home rival SK Hynix, and other companies consolidating in search of new growth areas such as artificial intelligence and vehicles. Kwon, a semiconductor engineer, has met with President Moon Jae-in and attended events both at home and overseas since Lee was detained in February on corruption charges. Kwon said he will not seek re-election as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the board when his term ends in March of next year. If Kwon is right, Samsung won't catch up anytime soon. He is also not stepping down immediately from his two other roles. Samsung Electronics is the crown jewel of a conglomerate comprised of about 60 units selling life insurance, cargo ships and clothes. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off", Kwon said in his letter.