Samsung Electronics CEO Announces Surprise Resignation

Even though Samsung reported its best-ever quarterly profit, Kwon said Samsung is confronting unprecedented crisis and needs a new leader more than ever.

Kwon, a semiconductor engineer, has met with President Moon Jae-in and attended events both at home and overseas since Lee was detained in February on corruption charges. The move came on Fridayas the smartphone maker forecast recorded Q3 operating profit because of the memory chip business, which Kwon was instrumental in building the company into the world leader.

In its earnings preview on Friday, Samsung put its July-September operating profit at 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion), compared with 5.2 trillion won ($4.6 billion) a year earlier. Samsung has been seeking to move past a bribery scandal that saw the company's de facto head Lee Jae-Yong thrown into jail, and to overcome a damaging recall a year ago of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over exploding batteries. Kwon's resignation comes as the company struggles to overcome a bribery scandal that sent Lee Jae-Yong, its de facto head and heir to the Samsung empire, to jail.

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SK Kim, an analyst with Daiwa Capital Markets, said that Kwon's departure is unusual because when Samsung announces management changes, they typically take effect immediately.

Samsung Electronics says its third-quarter profit likely surged almost three-fold over a year earlier to a new record high. Samsung did not announce the performance estimates of each business division but its semiconductor business is widely believed to have contributed greatly to the record-beating report.

Kwon will remain in his role of chief executive until a replacement can be found, and will remain as chair of the board until March 2018. Sales are expected to have surged 29.65 percent on-year to 62 trillion won, with the booming semiconductor business boosting the company's bottomline. But it could also encompass Samsung's recall fiasco with the Note7 smartphone past year, 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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