Samsung chief Kwon Oh-hyun steps down

Samsung chief Kwon Oh-hyun steps down

Amid claims Samsung Electronics is facing an "unprecedented crisis", CEO Kwon Oh-Hyun has announced he is stepping down from his role.

Still, Kwon's announcement was unexpected, especially with the company making record profit from its semiconductor business, and the group is now left without a leader. Lee was convicted on corruption charges to five years in prison in August, along with four other former Samsung executives. Kwon's departure from Samsung makes way for a new management that can finish the company's delayed reshuffle of its top executives.

"I believe the time has come for the company to start anew with new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges", said Kwon in a statement. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off", said Kwon.

Vice chair Lee Jae-yong, vice chair and heir to the company's controlling family, was arrested in February this year under charges of bribery including payments of around £29 million to Choi Soon-sil, confidant of South Korea's President Park Geun-hye, in exchange for the backing of a merger between two Samsung subsidiaries which chair Lee Kun-hee used to transfer control of the company to Jae-yong. Kwon sent out a letter to employees to announce his resignation. 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.

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Kwon joined the company in 1985 as a researcher of the company's Semiconductor Research Institute in the United States.

"Samsung's CEO-level leadership has remained largely unchanged for past three years, which is like an eternity in the fast-changing tech industry", said the analyst. Gee-sung stepped down after it become know he was allegedly involved in Lee's bribery scandal, according to Reuters.

But in a sign of good news for the company, its estimated operating profits for the July-September period of 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) marked a record for quarterly profit, almost tripling the 5.2 trillion won earned a year earlier.

Samsung has announced the imminent departure of its CEO even as the company said it expected to post record profits of almost $13 billion in the third quarter. Samsung hasn't given out information on the timing of succession, nor did it share who will take on Kwon's responsibilities when he leaves next year.