Samsung CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun, Resigns Due To 'Unprecedented Crisis'

Samsung CEO and Vice President, Oh-Hyun-Kwon announced his resignation today even though the company is poised for making record operating profits estimated at $12.8 billion for the September quarter. Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who transformed the company from a copycat appliance maker to a global technology leader, said in 2010 that Samsung was entering a "real crisis", just after the company achieved record annual sales of more than 130 trillion won.

The "crisis" alluded to in the letter has largely been read as a reference to the imprisonment of Samsung's de facto leader Lee Jae-yong on bribery and corruption charges.

Kwon first joined Samsung Electronics in 1985.

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.

"As we are 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", Kwon said in an official statement.

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. "There are no words to describe how proud I am that we built together one of the most valuable companies in the world".

"I want my resignation to be an opportunity for a higher level of challenge and innovation and to overcome this hard situation", Kwon said in the statement.

Samsung shares were trading at a new record high of 2.74 million won as of Thursday, as investors bet on record earnings in 2017 driven by growing demand for memory chips with ever greater processing power.

Kwon, also known as Mr. Chip, was in charge of Samsung's component business. Kwon is also the chairman of the board and leads the component unit of the business that manufactures memory and display chips.

The departure of 32-year Samsung veteran Kwon after five years in the top job comes at a time of leadership uncertainty at the firm.

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun has announced his resignation from the company.

  • Kara Saunders