Kwon, who also leads the company’s device and display businesses, will not seek re-election to the board when his term ends in March 2018, the company said. He was the de-facto head since Samsung heir-apparent Lee Jae-yong was imprisoned on corruption charges in August.
In an letter to employees, Kwon said his decision was the most difficult thing for him to do, but now was the right time and he believes his move is in the best interest of the company.
“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry…[N]ow the company needs a new leader more than ever,” he said.
The company said Friday morning (13 October) it expects Q3 2017 operating profit to nearly triple to KRW14.5 trillion ($12.8 billion) on the back of brisk demand for semiconductors.
Samsung announced in March it was holding off on adopting a widely anticipated holding company structure, despite calls by investors to implement the move and streamline its business.
Kwon joined the company in 1985 as a researcher at the company’s Semiconductor Research Institute in the US.