Samsung Electronics CEO resigns, says company is in “unprecedented crisis”


Samsung will lose another major executive soon. Shortly after posting the company’s third quarter financial results, CEO and Vice Chairman of Samsung Electronics Oh-Hyun Kwon announced he is leaving the company in March 2018.

In a letter to employees, Kwon offered a statement:

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. As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside 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.

The “unprecedented crisis” is apparently a reference to Samsung Group’s de facto leader and Vice Chairman, Lee Jae-yong (aka, Jay Y. Lee) being sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of bribery, embezzlement, capital flight, and perjury charges. Lee Jae-yong’s conviction was part of a bribery scandal that reached all the way to the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, who was impeached last year is also serving time in prison.

Lee Jae-yong is the son of Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung Group, and is seen as the company’s heir apparent. 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.

Vice Chairman Kwon will be leaving Samsung after 32 years with the company. Samsung Electronics has not yet announced a replacement.

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