Samsung keeps mobile chief despite profit plunge

December 1, 2014
.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Samsung retained the chief of its mobile business in an annual executive reshuffle announced Monday despite a steep decline in mobile profit.

The extent of this year’s reshuffle was the smallest in recent years, showing how Samsung is opting for stability in its executive ranks in the absence of chairman Lee Kun-hee who was hospitalized in May after a heart attack.

Samsung spokesman Lee June said that Shin Jong-kyun, president of mobile communications at Samsung Electronics Co., has made a significant contribution to Samsung’s rise to world’s top mobile phone maker.

Some analysts expected Shin to step down to take responsibility for Samsung’s failure to respond quickly enough to the rise of Chinese smartphone makers and Apple’s new iPhones. Samsung’s third-quarter mobile profit fell to just one quarter of the previous year’s level.

But the size of the mobile team that Shin will continue to lead is likely to become much smaller than before. The company is scheduled to announce next week a reorganization of its business divisions.

Samsung is South Korea’s most valuable company with businesses in semiconductor, TV and home appliances as well as mobile phones.

The mobile phone business once contributed more than 60 percent of Samsung Electronics’ overall profit but that proportion fell to less than half in the latest quarter as Galaxy smartphones lost popularity to the iPhone 6 series and Xiaomi’s cheap phones in China.

Samsung said Hong Won Pyo, who was president and head of the Media Solution Center within Samsung’s mobile business, will now lead Samsung’s global marketing. Hong’s departure from Samsung’s mobile business signals a shift in the Media Solution Center, a group that was set up to lead development and partnerships for apps for Galaxy phones.

Three executives in the Samsung group were promoted to president level including one from Samsung’s TV business and one from Samsung’s memory chip business.