Samsung delays reshuffles in absence of control tower

By Song Su-hyun
  • Published : Nov 10, 2017 - 16:34
  • Updated : Nov 10, 2017 - 16:34
Samsung Electronics and other Samsung affiliates delayed their announcements of new executives Friday afternoon, amid rumors that they are facing difficulties in making choices without a control tower that used to coordinate such decisions.

Each Samsung unit was reportedly to make their announcements within this week -- the first large-scale organizational shake-up since the Future Strategy Office was disbanded in February in the face of public criticism for exercising too much power while holding limited responsibility.

In the absence of the control tower, Samsung affiliates are likely having a difficult time carrying out changes within each organization down to the working level, according to multiple sources at Samsung.

A number of executives and employees have been awaiting reshuffle, since Samsung affiliates faced an unprecedented crisis at the end of last year, when the prosecution was zeroing in on Lee Jae-yong for his alleged involvement in a high-profile scandal that led to the impeachment of the nation’s former president. 
Photo by Park Hyun-koo/The Korea Herald

At least 100 executives across Samsung affiliates are expected to be promoted this year, likely the largest number since the conglomerate promoted 227 executives in 2014.

If the upcoming reshuffles reflect the latest generational change in top leadership, up to 200 officials could be subject to the restructuring, with expectations that senior officials nearing age 60 may want to retire while younger officials get promoted.

On Oct. 31, Samsung Electronics announced new chief executive officers for three divisions: Kim Ki-nam for device solutions, Kim Hyun-suk for consumer electronics and Koh Dong-jin for IT and mobile communications. Lee Sang-hoon was also named as the new chairman of the board of directors. This puts younger leaders in their 50s at the forefront of management.

After the major change in the top management, the electronics giant promoted a total of 96 executive-level officials Thursday, including the appointment of Chung Hyun-ho, former human resources management chief at the Future Strategy Office, as president of a new task force formed at the electronics unit to be in charge of coordinating things across other affiliates.

Currently, Chung and Roh Hee-chan, the new chief financial officer, are said to be wielding power in reshuffle talks.

“Due to delays in working-level talks, the announcement may be put off to Monday,” an official at Samsung Electronics said.

The incumbent CEOs of Samsung C&T, Engineering, Heavy Industries, Life Insurance, Fire & Marine Insurance and Securities are all over 60.

“The likelihood of replacing the current CEOs at key affiliates is very high as part of establishing a new leadership and system for Samsung,” said an official at a Samsung affiliate.

By Song Su-hyun(