Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to retire after March 2018

Samsung Electronics CEO Announces Resignation Amid 'Unprecedented Crisis'

Samsung CEO Kwon to step down even as chip business thrives

Kwon joined Samsung in 1985 at the company's Semiconductor Research Institute.

Kwon Oh-hyun, the Samsung Electronics vice chairman and CEO who led the company's profitable semiconductor business, announced his resignation on Friday, the same day the company projected record quarterly profit on the back of its component manufacturing.

However, according to Reuters, he also stated that even though Samsung is currently enjoying record profits, "We are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now".

"It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time", Kwon said in a statement. He is expected to deliver his letter of resignation to Lee Jae-yong and the board of directors soon.

The line about being confronted with an unprecedented crisis seems to imply that the corruption scandal involving Samsung's former de-facto leader Lee Jae-Yong had a significant impact on Kwon's decision to resign. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off". Lee Jae-yong's conviction was part of a bribery scandal that reached all the way to the president of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, who was impeached a year ago is also serving time in prison. 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.

"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. While Samsung was battered past year following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, it seems to have bounced back and will soon announce a much rosier financial position.

South Korea's largest company has been seeking to move past a bribery scandal that saw Lee thrown into jail, and to overcome a damaging recall a year ago of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over exploding batteries. For the third quarter of 2017, Samsung expects to make around 14.5 trillion won (around $12.8 billion) in operating profit off 62 trillion won (around $54.7 billion) in revenue, according to The Verge.

Kwon's resignation won't take into effect until March 2018, but Samsung will now have to find replacements to fill in the vacant roles in the company.

One analyst who declined to be named said the departure of the 64-year-old Samsung veteran may signal a broader reshuffle at the top.

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