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Samsung Electronics has replaced its chief executive as it steps up efforts to seek new drivers for growth amid intensifying competition and as its parent company prepares for succession to the third generation.
Kwon Oh-hyun, the head of the components division, is taking over the $159bn company which is the world’s largest producer of mobile phones and televisions by shipments.
He will take over from Choi Gee-sung, who has been Samsung Electronic’s chief executive since 2010. Mr Choi will take over responsibility for developing new businesses .
Lee Kun-hee, chairman, will continue to set the company’s long-term direction and make key investment decisions, while Mr Kwon will be largely in charge of running daily operations.
The unexpected reshuffle was seen by some analysts as a move aimed at the conglomerate’s transfer of ownership control to a third generation. The 61-year-old Mr Choi is widely seen as a mentor to Jay Lee, the group’s heir apparent. Mr Lee will stay as chief operating officer, but analysts said Mr Choi, in his new role , will help Mr Lee succeed his father at the helm. Analysts said Samsung needed to prepare the succession process with the 70-year-old chairman in frail health.
But Samsung said Mr Choi took up the new position as his predecessor resigned for health reasons after
recently asked for innovative changes within the group after his European trip last month.