Samsung Electronics said yesterday that its chief executive officer and vice-chairman Kwon Oh Hyun plans to step down from management, deepening concerns over a leadership vacuum at the technology giant after group scion Lee Jae Yong was jailed for bribery.
Between the conviction of its former head on corruption charges and the resignation of several board members, Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun said he felt the time had come for new leadership.
His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case.
The abrupt departure of Kwon, who had been acting head of the tech conglomerate since its de facto leader, Lee Jae-yong, was detained for a bribery trial, throws Samsung into yet another leadership vacuum. Sales are expected to weigh-in at around 63 trillion Korean won, while operating profit is forecast to be about 14.6 trillion Korean won.
But it would appear the 64-year-old Kwon is pessimistic about this success too: According to Reuters, he said that "We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments; we are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends".
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Samsung Electronics' CEO has announced his surprise resignation from the company. Kwon will also recommend a successor for his position, a Samsung spokesperson said.
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 previous year.
Kwon will remain in his role of chief executive until a replacement can be found, and will remain as chair of the board until March 2018.
In a letter sent to all employees, Kwon said that announcing his retirement was the most hard thing for him to do, but now was the right time and that he believes his decision is in the best interest of the company. Lee was accused of giving donations worth the equivalent of £29million to foundations owned by Choi Soon-sil in return for political favours.
The CEO expressed hope that his retirement will become an opportunity for Samsung to take the next step forward.