Samsung shakes up management amid tough phone market

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Samsung Electronics has appointed Roh Tae-moon as its new mobile chief and promoted network business chief Cheun Kyung-whoon to president, as the smartphone maker faces increasing competition in the global smartphone market.

The world's biggest manufacturer of smartphones and memory chips appointed Tae-moon (51), its youngest president to date, as part of a delayed management reshuffle, amid a series of bribery court cases involving some of its top executives, including vice-chairman Jay Y Lee, according to Reuters.

Tae-moon, who will be responsible for driving growth of its mobile business, previously championed Samsung’s shift to outsource more handset production, to cut costs and better compete with other Chinese smartphone-makers such asHuawei, its biggest rival.

Former mobile chief DJ Koh will continue to lead Samsung’s IT and mobile communications division, which includes mobile devices and network equipment.

As the new president, Kyung-whoon, who was involved in the world’s first commercialisation of 5G services in South Korea, will help turn the networking business into a major sector for the firm, according to a statement.

Samsung’s reshuffle is believed to help strengthen its position, as the South Korean company seeks to defend its lead in the handset market, and better cope with potential major market changes.

Samsung Electronics plays a crucial role in South Korea's economic growth as a subsidiary of Samsung Group, which has a large market share in the country’s economy.

According to International Data Corporation’s third quarter smartphone report, smartphone shipments grew by an estimated 0.8% during the July-September period.

Samsung came out on top with 78.2 million shipments, with 21.8% market share. Huawei was in second place, with 66.6 million shipped phones, an 18.6% market share. Apple ranked third, with 46.6 million shipments and 13% market share, but saw a 0.6% slump in its yearly shipments.

In 2017, Samsung vice-chairman Lee was arrested on bribery, embezzlement, capital flight and perjury charges.

While the case led to the impeachment of Park Geun-hye as president, Lee was eventually freed on probation after an appeals court slashed his original five-year jail sentence.

Last week, the South Korean firm announced it had completed the acquisition of Virginia-based telco TeleWorld Solutions.

“With network builds associated with 5G and 4G LTE enhancements advancing in the US, the acquisition will address the need for end-to-end support in delivering network solutions,” said Samsung in a statement.

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