Samsung chief Kwon Oh-hyun steps down

Kwon Oh-hyun

In a statement, the man known as "Mr Chip" said the time had come to "start anew with new spirit and young leadership".

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. But it also announced the resignation of a key executive, Kwon Oh-hyu.

Kwon is stepping down as head of Samsung Electronics' device solutions division, which includes the semiconductor business, and will not seek re-election as a member of the company's board when his term ends next March.

"I am anxious about a leadership vacuum at a time when Lee is absent from management", said Mr Chung Sun Sup, chief executive of research firm Chaebul.com, following Mr Kwon's announcement.

"[Samsung] has been showing record performances", Kwon said.

The departure of 32-year Samsung veteran Kwon after five years in the top job comes at a time of leadership uncertainty at the firm.

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"We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments; we are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now".

"Kwon himself might have thought over the issue for a long time", a Samsung spokesperson said, "but the notice itself was a surprise internally as well". "We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other", Kwon said.

Kwon first joined Samsung Electronics in 1985.

The release of new models, including the iPhone X by rival Apple Inc could weigh on Samsung's mobile sales, but will also help its smartphones parts business, Mirae Asset Daewoo Securities Co analyst Doh Hyun-woo said in a report.

Yet, Kwon insists that the strong profits don't reflect the current state of the company. But it could also encompass Samsung's recall fiasco with the Note7 smartphone a year ago, with the flagship smartphone having to be pulled off of market shelves due to a fire hazard with its charging mechanism.

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