Samsung’s main unit weeds out executive suite

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Samsung’s main unit weeds out executive suite

Following a lousy performance in the third quarter of 2014, 15 percent of Samsung Electronics executives have left the company either voluntarily or after being squeezed out, according to an analysis of the company’s quarterly reports and business reports on Thursday.

In last year’s third quarter, the number of executives at the world’s top smartphone producer totaled 1,219, excluding board members. But the names of 177 have been removed from list in a report Samsung submitted to the Financial Supervisory Service, a top financial watchdog, on March 31.

The number of jettisoned executives this year is 70 percent higher than a similar figure a year ago.

By position, the jettisoned execs include one vice chairman, five presidents, seven vice presidents, 18 executive directors, 69 managing directors, 56 research committee members and 21 expert committeemen.

By sector, 25 percent of the executives retired between October and March belonged to the IT and Mobile (IM) division. That division makes smartphones, including the flagship Galaxy series. One of the causes of the company’s collapsing profit was the poor sales of the Galaxy S5, which was put on the market in March 2014.

Samsung Electronics’ operating profit fell to 4.1 trillion won ($3.8 billion) in the third quarter last year from a record high of 10.2 trillion won a year earlier, a 59.7 percent decline. Sales dipped 20 percent during the same period as rivals in China and India rapidly caught up.

In the final quarter of 2014, operating profit at Samsung tallied 5.29 trillion won, down 36.4 percent from a year earlier.

One of the five presidents let go in the December reshuffle was Lee Don-joo, chief of marketing for the IM division.

He was known for introducing new Galaxy devices including the Note 4 on behalf of J.K. Shin, head of the IM division, with fluent English and smooth public speaking skills.

Development center chief Lee Chul-hwan and global operations chief Kim Jae-kwon - both presidents - were also forced out.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun@joongang.co.kr]

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