Kwon Oh-hyun said the company faces an "unprecedented crisis" following a bribery scandal that led to the imprisonment of de facto chief Lee Jae-yong The chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics is stepping down in a surprise resignation after decades at the company, saying the business needed new leadership following a bribery scandal that led to the imprisonment of its de facto chief. "Samsung tipped record earnings, it is going to be better in the fourth quarter, and all that has been driven by Mr Kwon's components business", said Mr Park Ju Gun, head of research firm CEO Score.
His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case.
He has represented Samsung Electronics at various occasions since the company's heir and vice chairman, Lee Jae-yong, 49, was jailed earlier this year.
It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time.
The company forecast bumper quarterly earnings on Friday, putting it on track to post a record operating profit for the period.
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. Semiconductors were Samsung's top earner in the three months through June, making a whopping $7.20 billion.
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He's stepping down even though Samsung's business remains robust.
Lee, who was found guilty in August of bribery, perjury and other charges relating to payments made by Samsung to ousted president Park Geun-hye's secret confidante Choi Soon-sil, is appealing his five-year sentence. But it also announced the resignation of a key executive, Kwon Oh-hyu.
Kwon's resignation announcement arrived the same day that Samsung predicted record profits for the second straight quarter.
"Because we are faced with an unprecedented crisis, I believe that the time has come, to a company headed by new leadership in order to better respond to the challenges arising in the rapidly changing IT industry", he said.