by Graham Pierrepoint
Samsung have had a bit of a rollercoaster 18 months. 2016 was arguably a dark year for the tech brand, who continues to lead in the smartphones market worldwide, as their Note 7 devices were prone to explosions once under the use of consumers. This was met by a complete recall and replacement to try and remedy the situation – only for said replacements to suffer the exact same fate. The saga ended with Samsung even encouraging fans to seek handsets elsewhere after issuing refunds across the board – before heading back to the drawing board for 2017. Since then, they’ve unveiled a number of big new products that have gone down hugely well with the Android market.
However, there’s big changes at the top of the company, despite the firm having continued to do so well on a global scale. Kwon Oh-hyun, who is both the vice chairman and CEO of the firm, was revealed to be stepping down in recent days – which has come as a big surprise to just about everyone, even those likely to be in the know on the tech scene. The same day, reports rolled out that Samsung saw record third-quarter profits – which makes the news all the more odd.
Kwon has become known as ‘Mr Chip’ due to his involvement in the development of internal components for the company’s many devices, and he has left with a statement that seems to look to the future. “We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments; we are not able to even get close to finding new growth engines by reading future trends right now,” Kwon advised. He also stated that his departure signalled the chance for Samsung to look to ‘new spirit and young leadership’. Could it be that Kwon has fallen on his own sword in order to help push Samsung in a new direction?
There certainly appears to be a level of uncertainty in the business as big figures have left the firm for various reasons in recent history. Jay Y Lee, formerly one of the biggest names at the firm, was imprisoned for bribery earlier this year – and Hoi Gee-Sung also left the board after it emerged he may have had a role in the Lee scandal. Therefore, it really is all change for Samsung – can they hold their smartphone supremacy for the year to come?