Samsung Mulling Major Management Shakeup in Mobile Division
Smartphone maker Samsung, reeling under price pressure from smaller rivals that prompted a 60 percent Q3 operating profit tumble to $3.8 billion, is mulling a major management shakeup that would remove J.K. Shin as its mobile head, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
The industry-visible Shin, who has shepherded Samsung’s rise in the mobile device segment, could be moved out as co-chief executive in favor of B.K. Yoon, a co-chief executive who currently handles the vendor’s home appliance and television operation, the report said. Samsung is considering adding the mobile business to Yoon’s responsibilities, in a move it believes would streamline its management ranks.
Yoon is said to be a strong advocate for Samsung’s push into the emerging smart home market, where some of its key rivals, namely Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) have already moved in. Yoon reportedly okayed Samsung’s $200 million July purchase of Washington, D.C.-based home automation startup SmartThings.
At this point, Samsung hasn’t finalized any management changes and won’t move to restructure until an ongoing annual review is complete, the Journal’s sources said.
Kwon Oh-hyun, a Samsung co-chief executive who heads semiconductors and display panels, is likely to stay in that role, the report said.
Samsung’s Richardson, Texas-based Telecommunications America (STA) operation also is making changes with Gregory Lee, who heads the device maker’s U.S. mobile and electronics business, moving to merge the two operations under one roof by early in 2015.
Last Spring, the vendor’s U.S. business saw the departure of six top executives, including its head of retail and channel sales, national sales, mobile devices product chief and a key mobile strategist.
And, in Europe, Samsung’s top brass also is unsettled. U.K. mobile chief Simon Stanford recently exited the company and Rob Orr, his successor, ran out after less than two months on the job, which remains open, the report said.
It’s clear that Samsung is tussling with ways to arrest its downturn. The vendor last week launched Milk Video, a new mobile video service for its Galaxy devices, recently landed a deal with enterprise software provider SAP (SAP) to develop industry-specific mobile solutions to run on the Korean manufacturer’s devices and wearables, and agreed to deliver an Android-based solution that combines BlackBerry’s (BBRY) BES12 enterprise mobility management (EMM) platform with Samsung’s Knox security-equipped Galaxy and Note mobile devices.