A man walks at the Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s long-time handset division chief is ceding day-to-day management of the struggling smartphone business in the biggest leadership change yet under the Samsung conglomerate’s heir-apparent, Jay Y. Lee.
Samsung Group said 54-year-old Dongjin Koh will take over as president of the mobile communications business from 59-year-old J.K. Shin, who will remain head of the overall mobile division for Samsung Electronics and focus on long-term strategy and developing new growth businesses.
“While it’s true that Shin delivered remarkable performance in the past, it’s indisputable that the Galaxy S6’s results fell short of expectations so a new leader was needed,” Hansung University economics Professor Kim Sang-jo said.
“Today’s appointments appear to acknowledge the need to develop a management system that can more proactively respond to challenges from Xiaomi and other Chinese companies.”
The group’s annual announcement of management changes also saw another top executive moved into a strategic role, with TV and appliances division chief Yoon Boo-keun shifted out of the day-to-day operations of the appliances business.
Analysts said that while the moves at the mobile division were an apparent acknowledgment that change was needed, they did not expect a new strategy to emerge any time soon.
“Koh is basically the same person as Shin,” Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology business professor Chang Sea-jin said.
Analysts have said Samsung needed to step up its software and services offerings to revive its mobile business, but Koh, who has held mobile business roles since 2006, had an engineering background like Shin.
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