Samsung has a new CEO. Choi Gee-sung, who helmed the Korean electronics giant during its rise to the top ranks of the global consumer electronics industry, has resigned. He will be replaced by Kwon Oh-hyun, who formerly led the company’s semiconductor business.
The company’s new CEO won’t be as powerful as his predecessor, thanks to a reorganization plan that puts its TV and mobile device units outside his direct control. Disputes between the component and consumer divisions will be resolved by company Chairman Lee Kun-hee, son of the conglomerate’s founder, The Wall Street Journal noted.
Analysts were surprised by the timing of Choi’s resignation, since the company usually reveals executive changes toward the end of the year. Choi will become the strategy head of an investment group owned by Chairman Lee that operates a network of more than 60 companies.
The balance between Samsung’s components and consumer-products operations has generated substantial internal and industry debate since Samsung was sued by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) for patent infringement in 2011. Apple is not only a competitor of Samsung in mobile devices but it’s also a major customer for Samsung’s computer chips and LCD displays.
Former CEO Choi met with Apple CEO Tim Cook last month in an apparently fruitless attempt, ordered by the court, to resolve the lawsuit.