The chairman of Samsung Electronics Co.'s board of directors, who has been the public face of the company after its de facto chief was jailed on corruption charges, said Friday he will resign next year to make way for a new leader.
His decision to resign comes at a time when the company tries to clean up its reputation amidst bribery case.
In an emotional letter sent to all employees, Kwon said that while announcing his retirement was the most hard thing for him to do, he believed it was the right time and in the best interest of the company, amid continuing controversy around Samsung vice-chairman Lee Jae-yong, arrested on charges of bribery.
Samsung Electronics said Kwon plans to deliver his intention to Lee in the near future and recommend a successor.
Lee Jae-yong is the son of Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung Group, and is seen as the company's heir apparent. "We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other", Kwon said. 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.
Kwon first joined Samsung back in 1985 as a researcher of the company's Semiconductor Research Institute in the US. For the third quarter of 2017, Samsung expects to make around 14.5 trillion won (around $12.8 billion) in operating profit off 62 trillion won (around $54.7 billion) in revenue, according to The Verge.
Samsung Electronics has not yet announced a replacement. He also served as president and head of the System LSI Division and as president and head of the Semiconductor Business before becoming CEO of the company in 2012. Kwon eventually became the CEO of Samsung Display in 2016.
With Kwon's resignation, there's uncertainty with the leadership at Samsung.
The Telegraph reports that 32-year Samsung veteran Kwon Oh-hyun announced his departure in a letter to staff. Samsung's shares fell about 1.5 per cent on Friday in Seoul.
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