CEO resigns as bribery scandal rocks Samsung

Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun Resigns, Says Company is Facing an 'Unprecedented Crisis'

Kwon's resignation comes as the company struggles to overcome a bribery scandal that sent Lee Jae-yong, its de facto head and heir apparent to the Samsung empire, to jail. Samsung Electronics said Kwon will also retire from his board seat at Samsung Display Co. Kwon, a semiconductor engineer, has met with President Moon Jae-in and attended events both at home and overseas since Lee was detained in February on corruption charges.

Kwon is stepping down as head of Samsung Electronics' device solutions division, which includes the semiconductor business, and will not seek re-election as a member of the company's board when his term ends next March. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off", Kwon said in his letter.

While expressing concern that the company was "confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out", alluding to the conviction of its leader, Kwon said he hopes his resignation can be a good opportunity for the company to turn things around and make bold attempts at innovation.

"Fortunately, the company is now producing best-ever results but this is merely a fruit of decisions and investment made in the past", he said in a statement. "We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other", Kwon said. The leadership shakeups appear to have had little impact on Samsung's business, however, with the company forecasting a banner third quarter of $12.81 billion in operating profit. Semiconductors were Samsung's top earner in the three months through June, bringing in a record eight trillion won (S$9.6 billion).

Yonhap Infomax data, based on research from 21 securities firms, also showed that Samsung is expected to post an operating profit of 16 trillion won in the fourth quarter, up 74 percent from a year earlier. If Kwon is right, Samsung won't catch up anytime soon. Samsung Electronics is the crown jewel of a conglomerate comprised of about 60 units selling life insurance, cargo ships and clothes.

Mr Kwon, 64, is seen as Samsung Group's No. 2.

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