Things are shaking up a bit at Samsung, and for once it’s not due to frustration over failed policies or poor business choices. Choi Gee-sung is the outgoing CEO, but he isn’t “going” so much as moving—into an ‘overwatch’ position as the head of corporate strategy. The Incoming CEO is Kwon Oh-hyun, who until now had been the top dog of Samsung’s component business.
“There’ll be no major changes in overall strategy as Kwon will continue to oversee the components business, while telecoms and consumer electronics are separately run by other executives,” said James Song, analyst at KDB Daewoo Securities.
“Choi is the best candidate [for the head of corporate strategy position] who can chart Samsung through the global economic crisis and ever-intensifying competition,” Samsung said in a statement, citing an unnamed executive. “Under Choi, Samsung plans to pursue innovative changes.”
Choi, who has been with Samsung in a large variety of roles and departments for over three decades, is now in a more focused—but not necessarily less prestigious—position at Samsung. Choi is also mentor to Jay Y. Lee—the son and assumed heir to current chairman Lee Kun-hee. So, in essence, Choi now has somewhat greater control over Samsung’s future, if not Samsung’s present.
“Jay Y. Lee is in the final stage of being groomed … and Choi will help in this process, helping him (Jay Y. Lee) look into the group as a whole, not just the electronics unit,” said Chung Sun-sup, head of chaebul.com, which provides information on South Korea’s industrial conglomerates.
Personally, I am glad to see this—a non-hostile CEO change, where the wisdom of the outgoing leader is maintained, fresh leadership blood is obtained, and any rash “this is my house” decisions on the part of the new leader can be somewhat tempered. Basically, a win for all sides, except perhaps Samsung’s competition. Does anyone see this as anything but a good sign? Does anyone here vigorously follow Samsung’s corporate goings-on and have a bit more context for us—perhaps some darker undertones to an otherwise seemingly peaceful changeover?