Samsung Electronics announced today that Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon plans to resign as the company’s head of the Device Solutions Business and will not seek re-election as a member and chairman of the board when his term ends in March 2018. Kwon will also resign as the chief executive officer of Samsung Display.
His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case. Lee Jae-Yong, Samsung Group’s de facto leader and vice chairman, was found guilty of bribery in August and sentenced to five years in prison for perjury and other charges relating to payments made to South Korea’s ousted president Park Geun-Hye in return for favors, including government support for Jae-Yong’s succession at Samsung, following a heart attack his father suffered in 2014. Jae-Yong currently is appealing his sentence
In a letter sent to all employees, Kwon said that announcing his retirement was the right time and that he believes his decision is in the best interest of the company. “It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” Kwon wrote.
“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 added that the company “needs a new leader more than ever.”
Kwon joined the company in 1985 as a researcher of the company’s Semiconductor Research Institute in the United States. He also served as president and head of the System LSI Division and as president and head of the Semiconductor Business before becoming CEO of the company in 2012. He also has served as the CEO of Samsung Display since 2016.