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Samsung creates research center dedicated to AI

Silicon Valley strategy unit will coordinate business development
Nov 23,2017

Samsung Electronics is strengthening its research in artificial intelligence, establishing a dedicated center for AI as part of its organizational overhaul Wednesday.

The tech giant is also empowering the Silicon Valley-based Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center by separating it from the device solutions division in charge of semiconductors and making it an independent organization. In addition to managing merger and acquisition deals, it will now also lead business development.

Earlier this month, Samsung released a list of new executives as part of its annual promotion of managers. The organizational reshuffle on Wednesday is a continuation of that process. One of the biggest changes was establishing an AI center under Samsung Research.

Samsung Research itself is a new unit born from the consolidation of two previously separate software development centers. Cho Seung-hwan, executive vice president and formerly deputy head of one of the software centers, has been tapped to lead Samsung Research. Lee Geun-bae will head the unit’s AI center.

There was little organizational change in the semiconductor division.

Park Chan-hoon will oversee the division’s manufacturing complex in Gyeonggi. Hwang Seong-woo will lead the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, the division’s research and development hub.

As the Silicon Valley-based Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center’s role has grown larger, so has the role of Sohn Young, the head of the center. On top of pursuing M&As and nurturing start-ups, he is now in charge of discovering sectors with potential growth for the company.

“We will actively respond to rapid changes in the business environment accelerated by convergence of different sectors and M&As,” Samsung said in a statement, “and push ahead with finding future growth engines for the company.”

Sohn will cooperate with all three of the conglomerate’s divisions - consumer electronics, mobile devices and semiconductors - in business development, the company said. Sohn will also retain his post as board chairman of Harman International, which Samsung acquired last year.

While the announcement concludes Samsung’s annual executive reshuffle, the company didn’t disclose details of a new task force established at the beginning of this month to take on the role played by the once powerful Future Strategy Office, which oversaw all aspects of the sprawling conglomerate’s management.

Jung Hyeon-ho, a close associate of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong, was appointed to lead the task force, but details of who else will be part of it have not been revealed. Samsung has been posting record quarterly performances on the back of increased semiconductor production, reaching a peak in the third quarter.

The company said it would distribute 65 billion won ($60 million) in bonuses to its suppliers of chip business and pay bonuses of roughly four times basic pay for its own employees in chip division.

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