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Samsung promotes 42 more in final reshuffle

May 13,2017
Samsung Electronics announced its final employee reshuffle on Friday, promoting 42 executives from its device solutions division. The announcement comes a day after the conglomerate promoted 54 executives.

The latest promotions encompass the electronics company’s semiconductor and display businesses. Among the 42, five were promoted to executive vice presidents, 10 were elevated to senior vice presidents and 22 were named vice presidents.

The size of the promotion was roughly 70 percent of the reshuffle in 2015, according to a Samsung spokesperson, though there were expectations more employees would be promoted as the semiconductor business saw a huge boost in the first quarter.

The device solutions division, led by Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, reported 7.59 billion won ($6.73 million) in operating profit last quarter thanks to the semiconductor price hike. The figure was about three times larger than the same period last year. Digital transformation in a variety of industries has beefed up demand for high-capacity memory chips.

The moderate size of the promotions is most likely due to ongoing investigations of Samsung related to former President Park Geun-hye and her confidante Choi Soon-sil. Lee Jae-yong, the vice chairman and de facto head of Samsung, has been indicted and is on trial on charges he backed Choi’s daughter Chung Yoo-ra in return for political favors.

The verdict from the first trial is expected to be released around August. Until then, promotions for higher level presidents will be pushed back.

The employee reshuffle had been an annual yearend event for the largest chaebol, however the high-profile political scandal delayed promotions for roughly five months.

Samsung decided to resume the reshuffle for executives below president level saying, “We concluded any more delays could harm organizational efficiency,” in a statement Thursday.

As Samsung Electronics has now begun reshuffles, its affiliates like Samsung SDI and Samsung Electro-mechanics are likely to follow suit soon.

Samsung Display responded quickly, announcing promotions of 11 executives on Friday. The number is three less than its 2015 promotions.

Samsung’s former powerhouse Future Strategy Office used to handle promotions at all affiliates at once, but the central controlling unit disbanded in February, requiring each affiliate to make independent decisions and announcements.

“We aim to boost employee sentiment and focus on achieving this year’s business targets through the reshuffle,” Samsung said in a statement.

The company also executed an organizational overhaul Friday by spinning off the foundry business from its system LSI business division focused on producing system semiconductors. The separation comes as the company hopes to bolster the two businesses, Samsung said.


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