​Samsung tweaks mobile business, promotes chip boss in reshuffle

Samsung has promoted an executive tasked with reviving its mid-tier smartphones in the mobile business, as well as its chip boss who led the conglomerate's stellar semiconductor growth.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer
(Image: Vice Chairman & CEO Kim Ki-nam and President Roh Tae-moon)

Samsung Electronics has promoted an executive who will be tasked with reviving its mid-tier smartphone line-up, as well as its semiconductor boss during its year-end reshuffle.

The South Korean tech giant made no big changes in its core leadership group, with all three of its CEOs retaining their positions.

There were some important promotions, however, as uncertainty for the future lingers.

Kim Ki-nam, president and CEO of Samsung's Device Solutions Business -- its semiconductor business -- was promoted to vice Chairman and CEO of the same business.

Kim is credited for leading Samsung's 2 year streak of record growth in its chip business.

But China has poured billions into making its own memory chips, with Chinese authorities investigating Samsung and SK Hynix for potential anti-trust violations.

There are also fears that the two-year 'super cycle' that saw unprecedented growth in the semiconductor market will end next year. Memory chips, essentially a commodity, have traditionally shown an up-cycle and a subsequent down-cycle throughout the years.

The South Korean tech giant is aggressively miniaturising and integrating its semiconductors in an attempt to defend its market share and profits, and in doing so, widen the technological gap between Samsung and its rivals.

Samsung also promoted Roh Tae-moon, head of its mobile business research team, from executive vice present to president.

Roh is widely respected within the company for his work on the Galaxy Note series, which he helped cement as a separate category within the smartphone market. His position, head of mobile research, is usually the gateway position to the top job of CEO or head of business.

According to company insiders, Roh is tasked with reviving the company's mid-tier line-up, the Galaxy A series.

Samsung has lost market share in the low- to mid-tier sector against Chinese rivals, especially Huawei, in China and emerging economies in Asia. Internally, the company has vowed not to lose its top spot in smartphone market share.

The conglomerate is also attempting to launch its foldable phone next year ahead of rivals.

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