Prior to unveiling new Smartphones in February, Samsung Shakes up Management with new Smartphone Division Leader
Earlier this month Patently Apple posted a report titled "Despite a Rash of new Smartphone Models, Samsung has stated that their Operating Profit for Q4 2019 has Fallen Sharply." The report quoted Samsung stating that its operating profit for the three months that ended in December likely fell about 34% from a year ago. In the previous three quarters, Samsung’s operating profit had more than halved from the same period a year earlier. Performance like this at Samsung usually has swift consequences and today one high profile executive loses the reigns of their smartphone division.
Today it was announced that Samsung Electronics has appointed Taemoon Roh as the new head of its smartphone division, tasking a veteran executive with oversight of the world’s largest mobile devices business. Roh will officially take over the top job from Koh Dong-Jin beginning today. Samsung’s shares climbed as much as 2.5% in Seoul on the news.
Koh will remain head of the Korean conglomerate’s IT and mobile communications division but hands the reins of smartphones over to a 52-year-old lieutenant credited with building up the marquee Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Roh, a two-decade veteran of Korea’s largest corporation, is regarded internally as an engineering maven who’s meticulous about smartphone features.
The largest maker of mobile phones, displays and memory chips shakes up its executive ranks each year, with the extent of the changes often correlated to how its businesses are doing. As we pointed out at the top of this report, smartphone sales for Samsung have been poor over last year in respect to operating profit.
Korea’s largest company is racing to secure an early lead in 5G smartphones as well as foldables, both of which will take center stage during its annual Unpacked event in San Francisco in February.
Roh will also assume responsibility for repairing the mobile division’s reputation. Under Koh’s leadership, Samsung suffered from major quality issues at least twice: In 2016, Samsung killed off the Note 7 for good after models tended to burst into flames. Last year, Samsung also had to delay the Galaxy Fold by several months after review models exhibited issues with displays that were easily peeled off. Those debacles were widely seen as a result of the company’s rushing phones to market to try and steal a march on Apple and Huawei. For more on this read the Bloomberg report titled "Samsung Engineering Maven to Lead World’s Top Phone Business."