Published : 2010-03-30 17:14
Updated : 2010-03-30 17:14
The Samsung Group yesterday carried out its biggest-ever shakeup of top management in a move seen as aiming to form younger leadership to weather the global economic downturn.
The nation`s biggest conglomerate replaced 25 presidents and vice chairmen, its first major executive reshuffle since the resignation of former chairman Lee Kun-hee last year.
Lee, who had headed Samsung Group for two decades, stepped down in April in the wake of a corruption scandal that led to his indictment on tax evasion and breach of trust charges.
The larger-than-expected reshuffle forced the group`s old vice chairmen and presidents out and younger executives were promoted to fill their posts.
"The sweeping reshuffle aims to invigorate the group`s organization following the probe by a special prosecutor. We have also massively recruited young and creative talents," the group said in a statement.
It said all of its top executives aged over 60 were replaced, except for two presidents who were promoted to vice chairman - Kim Jing-wan of Samsung Heavy Industries and Lee Sang-dae of Samsung C&T Corp.
"Age was the biggest criteria in the reshuffle," Yoon Soon-bong, Samsung`s chief public relations executive, said at a press briefing.
"The global market is in a crisis and Samsung is also in an extremely difficult situation. We need very challenging and proactive people," he said.
The global economic downturn has battered demand, hurting the nation`s top exporter. Samsung Electronics, Samsung`s flagship unit, is expected to swing to loss in the fourth quarter for the first time in eight years.
The electronics giant announced that it is integrating its four business units into two - Device Solution and Digital Media & Communications.
Lee Yoon-woo, vice chairman and CEO of Samsung Electronics, will head the Device Solution unit, which will be in charge of "parts" such as liquid crystal displays and semiconductors.
Choi Gee-sung, president of the telecommunications unit, was named as president of Digital Media & Communications which covers "sets" such as mobile phones and TVs.
Samsung Electronics` two star CEOs, Hwang Chang-gyu and Lee Ki-tae, retired.
Hwang, who led the development of advanced memory chips under the so-called "Hwang`s law," quit his post as chief technology officer and president of the corporate technology unit. Lee Ki-tae, who is known as "the man behind Anycall`s success story," also resigned from vice chairman and head of the external relations division. Anycall is Samsung`s cell phone brand.
The reshuffle affected all of Samsung Group`s chemical and petrochemical units.
Yoon, vice president of Samsung C&T Corporation, was promoted to president of Samsung Petrochemical, and Park Oh-kyu, vice president of Samsung Total Petrochemicals, was promoted to president of Samsung-BP Chemical.
Yoo Suk-ryul, president of Samsung Card, was picked to head Samsung Total Petrochemicals, and Bae Ho-won, president of Samsung`s Social Contribution Committee, was appointed president of Samsung Fine Chemicals.
Hwang Baek, vice president of Cheil Industries, was promoted to head the textile unit.
Choi Doh-seok, chief financial officer, was named as president of Samsung Card. Choi Joo-hyeon, vice president of Samsung Corning Precision Glass, was promoted to president of Samsung Everland.
Meanwhile, the Samsung Group said it will cut executive salaries by 10 to 20 percent in its affiliates as part of belt-tightening efforts. It said it will also reduce expenses on executives` business trips such as flight fares and accommodation fees.
Samsung plans to announce a further reshuffle of executives and organizations in its subsidiaries early next week.
By Jin Hyun-joo