Samsung exchanges senior management: more focus on semiconductors

ÜSurprisingly, Samsung Electronics, a global heavyweight in consumer electronics and computer chips, has replaced top management. With the change in personnel, the company is also integrating the fields of consumer electronics and mobile devices. The decisions are seen as a sign that Samsung Electronics wants to focus more on the company’s other mainstay, the business with components such as semiconductors and memory chips. At the same time, the generation change in management shows that the vice president, heir to Samsung, Lee Jae-yong, is increasingly making his mark on the company.

Patrick Welter

Reporter for business and politics in Japan, based in Tokyo.

For the most important South Korean company, this was the first management change at the top in four years. In the past few years, Samsung has focused on continuity in management because Lee, the grandson of the Samsung founder, has had to deal with elimination. In August, 53-year-old Lee was released from prison. He was convicted of bribery in connection with the scandal of former President Park Geun-hye.

Jong-Hee Han will head the new SET division, which brings together the consumer electronics and mobile divisions. The 59-year-old director is a TV veteran. Han takes over from Koh Dong-jin and Kim Hyunsuk. As Head of Smartphones and Other Mobile Devices Division, Koh has achieved a certain level of recognition at the international level. Han was also promoted to vice president.

new focus

From now on, 58-year-old Kyung Ki-Hyun will be in charge of the components business, including mainly semiconductors. In this sector, Samsung also supplies competitors such as Apple with screens for smartphones. Samsung describes Kyung as an expert in computer chip design. Recently, he headed a group company that manufactures other components.

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From now on, Samsung will only have two instead of three CEOs. The company established the integration of consumer and mobile businesses with synergies that should be strengthened. This may indicate that Samsung Electronics, like its big rival Apple, wants to integrate its smartphones and tablets with TVs and home appliances into a software-based “ecosystem”.

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