Head Of Samsung's Booming Semiconductor Business To Resign

Head Of Samsung's Booming Semiconductor Business To Resign

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun has announced that he will leave the company at the end of its current financial year in March, citing what he described as an "unprecedented crisis" in a letter to staff.

Kwon's sudden departure may be a calculated legal tactic to seek a softer punishment for Lee, said Shim Jung-Taik, an author of several books on Samsung and its corporate culture.

His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case. Kwon had emerged as the public face of Samsung after Lee Jaeyong, grandson of the company's founder, was detained on corruption charges and then sentenced to five years in prison in August amid ascandal that brought down South Korea's president.

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It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. But in a sign of good news for the company, its estimated operating profits for the July-September period of 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) marked a record for quarterly profit, almost tripling the 5.2 trillion won earned a year earlier. "We are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now".

Kwon added the company is facing a grave situation despite it making record-breaking earnings. Semiconductors were Samsung's top earner in the three months through June, bringing in a record eight trillion won (S$9.6 billion).

Samsung expects to pull in 62 trillion won ($54.9 billion) in revenue and 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) in profit for the three months ending September 30, a near 300% increase in profit compared to the same period a year ago. Lee was accused of giving donations worth the equivalent of £29million to foundations owned by Choi Soon-sil in return for political favours. Kwon is also leaving his position as chief executive of Samsung Display, which he has held since 2016.

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The resignation caps a tumultuous period for the South Korean conglomerate that included the jailing of de facto leader Lee Jae-yong. Kwon is also the chairman of the board and leads the component unit of the business that manufactures memory and display chips.

In a statement, the man known as "Mr Chip" said the time had come to "start anew with new spirit and young leadership".

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