Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun unexpectedly announced his plans to step down earlier this month, citing the need for new leadership amid “unprecedented crisis,” and the company has now announced his replacements. There’ll be three leaders each with a specific area of focus — Kim Ki-nam heading up the components business, Kim Hyun-suk (HS Kim) running consumer electronics, and Koh Dong-jin (DJ Koh) in charge of mobile and IT.
Yoon Boo-keun (BK Yoon) and Shin Jong-kyun (JK Shin) are resigning altogether from their previous co-CEO roles after stepping back from direct control in 2015. It’s not clear whether any one of the new leaders will have an elevated status similar to Kwon’s — Samsung’s announcement describes the new arrangement as “maintaining the current three co-CEO management structure.”
Kim Ki-nam was already responsible for Samsung Electronics' overall semiconductor business, and variously in the past ran the memory division and was CEO of Samsung Display. Samsung describes Kim Hyun-suk as an expert in display technology, having helped lead the company to dominance in the global TV market. Koh Dong-jin was formerly the head of mobile R&D and took over from Shin as mobile leader in 2015.
“The next generation of leaders are well suited to accelerate the pace of innovation and address the demands of the connected world,” Kwon said in a statement. “They have proven track records with extensive experience and outstanding expertise in their fields.”
The news comes as Samsung announced its highest ever quarterly profits. It made 14.53 trillion won (about $13 billion) in operating profit off 62.05 trillion won ($55.4 billion) in revenue between July and September, beating the record of 14.1 trillion won set last quarter. The semiconductor business was the biggest driver — Samsung says that the Galaxy Note 8 helped the mobile business post strong shipments, but profit actually declined quarter-on-quarter because sales of lower-end models were higher.