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Samsung finally reshuffles ranks

May 12,2017
Samsung Electronics finally began its long-delayed annual employee reshuffle Thursday, promoting 54 of its executives.

The reorganization had been pushed back from the end of last year as the nation’s largest conglomerate was embroiled in a bribery scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil.

“We concluded any more delays could harm organizational efficiency,” Samsung said in a statement.

Six executives were promoted to executive vice presidents while 11 were named senior vice presidents. Thirty employees moved up as vice presidents. The rest were named for other roles equivalent to the vice-president level. Two women and two foreigners were included in the promotions. Joseph Stinziano and John Herrington, both dedicated to Samsung’s business in North America, moved up to senior vice president and vice president.

Still, the scale of promotions is only half the size of the last reshuffle in 2015.

Only the necessary announcements have been made, analysts say, as Samsung’s Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is still held in court for allegedly backing Chung Yoo-ra, the daughter of Choi, to receive political favors.

The promotions didn’t cover the device solutions division, which includes semiconductor and display businesses. A separate announcement is likely to follow today, according to industry sources. A Samsung spokesperson said the delay occurred “because it took a longer time to finalize the reshuffle for the device solutions division.”

Once the electronics giant finalizes its reshuffle, other affiliates such as Samsung SDI and Samsung Electro-mechanics are likely to follow suit.

While Samsung’s Future Strategy Office traditionally executes group-wide reshuffles, its dismantling in February changed the way Samsung affiliates manage human resources plans. With the central controlling unit gone, each affiliate will hold and announce its own promotions separately. The move is in accordance with an earlier pledge by Samsung to strengthen affiliates’ independence.

Still, uncertainty lies ahead for Samsung as its de facto leader is awaiting the result of his first court trial. The result is expected to be released by August. Until then, the president-level reshuffle, which could more strongly affect power dynamics at the company, is likely to be stalled.

“Through the reshuffle today, we hope to minimize uncertainties ahead and focus on achieving this year’s business targets,” Samsung said in a statement.


BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]