In Surprise Move, Samsung CEO to Step Down After Record Profit

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The chief executive officer of Samsung Electronics Co. is stepping down in a surprise resignation after decades at the company, saying it needed new leadership following a bribery scandal that led to the imprisonment of its de facto chief.

Kwon Oh-hyun, who also serves as co-vice chairman, announced his retirement on Friday as the Suwon-based company reported record operating income of 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) on booming demand for displays and memory chips. He said the company faces an unprecedented crisis despite the financial success.

Kwon had emerged as the public face of Samsung Electronics after Jay Y. Lee, grandson of the companys founder, was detained on corruption charges and then sentenced to five years in prison in August amid a scandal that brought down South Koreas president. While the latest financial results show Samsungs business units operating smoothly, that in itself may present risks for Kwon, said Park Ju-gun, who tracks corporate executives at CEOScore.

Nobody wants to be the chief of Samsung Electronics at a time like this; its too risky, said Park. It puts that person at odds with the controlling family. Only when he is in the shadow is he playing his role properly.

Fridays results didnt include net income or break out divisional performance. Final numbers are usually released two weeks later. Samsungs shares fell less than 1 percent by midday Friday in Seoul. They have climbed more than 50 percent this ....

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