Samsung Electronics CEO resigns amid corruption scandal

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Samsung Electronics chief executive Kwon Oh-hyun abruptly announced his retirement on Friday, weeks after senior executives were convicted in a corruption scandal.

“As we are confronted with unprecedented crises inside out, I believe the time has now come for the company to start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

Kwon, one of three Samsung Electronics co-CEOs, will remain on the company’s board until next year.

Kwon’s resignation came on the same day the company forecast record quarterly profits, largely due to higher prices for Samsung computer chips. The company announced that it expected third quarter operating profit of nearly $ 13 billion.

Samsung has directed intense investment into memory chips and display units, and is regarded as the primary supplier of those elements for cellphones and other technological devices.

There is concern that Samsung Group, a conglomerate of 60 interlinked and family-owned companies that includes Samsung Electronics, has a leadership vacuum, the Korea Times reported Friday.

Lee Jae-yong, Samsung Group’s de facto leader, was convicted in August with other executives in a corruption scandal that led to the impeachment and resignation of former South Korean President Park Guen-hye. Lee will soon stand trial.

Kwon’s letter congratulated company employees on their successes, but noted that Samsung is not seeking new advances.

“We are hard-pressed to find new growth areas right now from reading future trends,” he wrote.

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