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13 October 2017, 08:25 | Jodi Jackson
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee arrives at a court in Seoul Thomson Reuters
The chief executive of Samsung Electronics resigned on Friday, saying the South Korean tech giant was facing an "unprecedented crisis", even as it flagged record third-quarter profits.
Samsung Electronics said Kwon plans to deliver his intention to Lee in the near future and recommend a successor. While Samsung was battered past year following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, it seems to have bounced back and will soon announce a much rosier financial position. "Lee's lawyers may argue that Samsung, with the veteran Kwon gone, needs its vice chairman back more than ever to lead the firm", he said, adding that the tactic had often been used by other family-run South Korean business empires.
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.
The line about being confronted with an unprecedented crisis seems to imply that the corruption scandal involving Samsung's former de-facto leader Lee Jae-Yong had a significant impact on Kwon's decision to resign. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off", Kwon said in an English statement. He later served as head of the division producing system semiconductors and then as head of the semiconductor business before becoming CEO of the company in 2012.
With Kwon's resignation, there's uncertainty with the leadership at Samsung.
"The company has been riding a global semiconductor boom", he said, adding that the semiconductor business alone is believed to have contributed 10 trillion won to the operating profit. Gee-sung stepped down after it become know he was allegedly involved in Lee's bribery scandal, according to Reuters. Friday's personnel announcement came shortly after the company said it was expecting to log 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) in operating profits for the July-September quarter, an all-time record and almost three times the 5.2 trillion won of the same period a year earlier.
Kwon's resignation won't take into effect until March 2018, but Samsung will now have to find replacements to fill in the vacant roles in the company.
Shares in Samsung Electronics were trading down 0.55 percent on heavy profit taking in mid-day trade.
The Telegraph reports that 32-year Samsung veteran Kwon Oh-hyun announced his departure in a letter to staff.
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