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.