Samsung appoints new chief executive

South Korean technology giant Samsung has announced a management reshuffle that will see Kwon Oh-hyun replace Choi Gee-sung as chief executive of the company.

Kwon, who currently heads up the company’s component business, will continue to oversee that division, but will also work alongside consumer electronics chief Yoon Book Keun to handle broader corporate matters, Samsung Group said in a statement.

The company’s mobile phone business will remain under the control of its president, Shin Jong-kyun, and Jay Lee, the son of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, will retain his post as chief operating officer.

In his previous role, Kwon led the expansion of Samsung’s mobile chip business, capitalising on the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets. The company later became the sole supplier of processors for Apple’s iPhone and iPad – rival products to Samsung’s own Galaxy and Note.

Samsung has a 50 per cent share of the global market in memory chips, and its logic chips for mobile devices now account for 40 percent of the company’s overall semiconductor revenue. The company today announced plans to invest $1.9 billion (£1.2bn) on a new logic chip line, using its 20nm and 14nm processing technology.

Demand for system chips used in smartphones and tablets is set to more than double to $59 billion (£38bn) in 2016 from $23 billion (£15bn) last year, according to research firm Gartner.

Samsung said the new line – which it hopes to complete by the end of next year – will help meet growing demand for “smart mobile solutions”.

Meanwhile Choi, who has been Samsung chief executive since early 2010, will retain his seat on the board and will take over responsibility for parent Samsung Group’s Corporate Strategy Office, focusing on developing the new business.

“Choi is the best candidate who can chart Samsung through the global economic crisis and ever-intensifying competition,” Samsung said in a statement. “Under Choi, Samsung plans to pursue innovative changes.”

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