Samsung Electronics’ CEO has announced his surprise resignation from the company. Oh-Hyun Kwon will leave not only that post but also his positions as CEO of Samsung Display, head of the company’s components arm, and Vice Chairman.
The move comes just as Samsung has announced record profits, thanks largely to its memory chip business, prompting one industry analysts to describe its timing as “nonsensical“. But in his resignation letter Kwon explained that because Samsung is facing “unprecedented crisis inside out,” the time has come for the company to “start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership”.
The “crisis” alluded to in the letter has largely been read as a reference to the imprisonment of Samsung’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong on bribery and corruption charges. But it could also encompass Samsung’s recall fiasco with the Note7 smartphone last year, with the flagship smartphone having to be pulled off of market shelves due to a fire hazard with its charging mechanism.
In any case, Samsung appears to have re-established some pretty solid footing this year, becoming a pioneer in mobile biometrics technology with the iris scanning capabilities of its award-winning Galaxy S8 devices and the newly-released Note 8 smartphone. Its major investments into sophisticated AI and smart car technologies, meanwhile, suggest a sense of momentum and anticipated growth. But the company’s CEO nevertheless appears to believe it’s best that the company move forward without him.