LG CEO resigns as mobile sales dwindle

After serving nearly four years, LG Electronics chief Nam Yong will step down to shoulder responsibility for the South Korean company's poor mobile phone performance.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

The chief executive of South Korean consumer electronics company LG Electronics has resigned Friday amidst declining mobile phone sales, according to news reports.

Nam Yong, said Reuters, will be replaced on Oct. 1 by Koo Bon-joon, 59, who is the head of trading firm LG International. The incoming CEO is a founding family member of the company and younger brother of LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo.

LG said Nam offered his resignation to take responsibility for company's poor management and performance. He was appointed in 2007.

According to Reuters, LG's mobile unit once accounted for about one-third of the group sales, but contributed only one-fourth of revenue in its second-quarter results released in July. During the period, the mobile segment posted a record loss of 120 billion won (US$103.1 million).

The 62-year-old's ousting comes on the heels of a leadership shake-up at another cellphone giant, Nokia. The Finnish phonemaker announced last week that it has appointed Microsoft's Stephen Elop to take over Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo as CEO.

Despite being amongst the top three mobile manufacturers in the world, both Nokia's and LG's sales have been slipping as pressure mounts from intense competition from smartphone rivals particularly Apple and Research in Motion. Nokia's Symbian platform is also at risk of losing market share to Google's Android.

LG is the third-largest handset maker globally, but sales of its smartphones have not surpassed the 1-million mark, according to the Reuters report.

Citing KB Investment & Securities analyst Harrison Cho, Reuters noted more changes in the LG management are to be expected. Cho said Koo is expected to replace LG's mobile chief Scott Ahn and other top executives in a bid to respond more quickly to changes in the market.

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