Samsung Electronics, the flagship business of the South Korean mega-conglomerate and the second largest tech company on the planet, has just lost its CEO and vice chairman Kwon Oh-hyun today, as he announced his decision to step down.
In a letter to employees, Kwon noted that as the firm is “confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry.”
He’s almost certainly referring to the arrest of Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of Samsung Group; the 49-year old leader was imprisoned in August after he was found guilty of bribery and embezzlement.
The news follows Samsung Electronics’ prediction of record profits for its third quarter: it estimates that it’ll rake in $12.8 billion, which works out to a 179 percent increase from the same period a year ago.
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 right now.
It’s worth noting that a majority of the company’s revenue comes from the chips and components business that Kwon had a hand in building over his 32-year career at Samsung (he’s served as CEO only since 2012).
With that, the future of Samsung Group’s biggest earner hangs in the balance. The company will have to work quickly to find successor; Kwon will only serve as a member of the board, as well as the CEO of Samsung Display, until March 2018.