Samsung CEO steps down amidst 'unprecedented crisis'

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun has announced that he will leave the company at the end of its current financial year in March, citing what he described as an "unprecedented crisis" in a letter to staff.

Despite the spectacular performance, Kwon said the company was in the throes of an "unprecedented crisis" as he announced his intention to step down.

His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case. In August, Lee was sentenced to five years in prison for corruption after he was found guilty of being involved in bribing the then-South Korean president, Park Geun-hye. Kwon claimed he had been thinking about leaving "for quite some time" and could "no longer put it off" - The BBC reports. Operating profit is expected to leap to KRW 14.4-14.6 trillion from 5.2 trillion year-on-year.

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Experts equally noted that the company was making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments and that the firms are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now. The move came on Fridayas the smartphone maker forecast recorded Q3 operating profit because of the memory chip business, which Kwon was instrumental in building the company into the world leader.

"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. If Kwon is right, Samsung won't catch up anytime soon.

Samsung has been seeking to move past a bribery scandal that saw Lee thrown into jail, and to overcome a damaging recall previous year of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over exploding batteries. Semiconductors were Samsung's top earner in the three months through June, bringing in a record eight trillion won (S$9.6 billion).

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Lee was convicted of bribing former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and sentenced to five years for bribery, hiding assets overseas, embezzlement, and perjury in August. Kwon eventually became the CEO of Samsung Display in 2016.

The "unprecedented crisis" that Kwon may be alluding to is the arrest of Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the Samsung.

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