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(2nd LD) Samsung Electronics CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to retire after March 2018

2017/10/13 12:10

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(ATTN: ADDS details in para 2-3, last 2 paras, photo)

SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday its Vice Chairman and chief executive officer Kwon Oh-hyun will not extend his current tenure in office, which expires in March 2018.

Kwon, who also serves as the head of the device solution business, has been working as de facto head of the company and conglomerate following the imprisonment of the Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong.

Along with his seat as the head of the chip arm, Samsung Electronics said Kwon will also retire from his board seat at Samsung Display Co.

"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 said in an English statement.

"As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside and out, I believe that time has now come for the company to start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry," he added.

Kwon added the company is facing a grave situation despite it making record-breaking earnings.

"(The earnings) are based on investment made in the past. But (at the moment) we are hard pressed to read future trends and find new growth engines," Kwon said.

The CEO expressed hope that his retirement will become an opportunity for Samsung to take the next step forward.

Samsung Electronics said Kwon plans to deliver his intention to Lee in the near future and recommend a successor.

Kwon first joined Samsung Electronics in 1985. He was appointed chief executive in 2012.

Kwon has been making major contributions to Samsung's chip business since his earlier years, leading the development of the world's first 64Mb-DRAM in 1992.

The CEO is also well known for receiving the highest salary in South Korea, with his annual pay standing at 6.7 billion won (US$5.9 million) last year. In the first half of this year, he received 13.9 billion won including bonuses on the back of the robust performance of the chip business.

Samsung Electronics Co. Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon (Yonhap) Samsung Electronics Co. Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr

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