Kwon Oh-hyun announced in a statement today that he is stepping down as the CEO of Samsung Electronics and as head of the company’s components business. In his statement, Kwon explained that his decision comes as Samsung faces an “unprecedented crisis.”

Samsung U28E590D 28-Inch 4K Monitor

The change will take place in March 2018, with Kwon leaving his posts at Samsung Electronics, the company board, and Samsung Display. He joined Samsung originally in 1985 and worked to lead its semiconductor business, eventually being named Samsung Display CEO last year.

Samsung Electronics announced today Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon plans to resign as the company’s head of the Device Solutions Business and will not seek re-election as a member of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board when his term ends in March, 2018. Vice Chairman Kwon will also resign as the Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Display.

In his statement, Kwon explains that the decision is one he has been thinking “long and hard about for quite sometime,” noting that it “hasn’t been an easy decision.” He goes no to say that he feels it’s the best move as Samsung is “confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out.”

“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” Vice Chairman Kwon said

“As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry.”

The crisis Kwon is likely referring to here is the arrest of Lee Jae-yong, the de-facto head of Samsung’s business empire. Lee was arrested and convicted on charges of bribery, embezzlement, and perjury, facing 5 years in jail. He was arrested back in August.

Samsung’s full announcement post is below:

Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon to Resign as CEO of Samsung Electronics

Samsung Electronics announced today Vice Chairman Oh-Hyun Kwon plans to resign as the company’s head of the Device Solutions Business and will not seek re-election as a member of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board when his term ends in March, 2018. Vice Chairman Kwon will also resign as the Chief Executive Officer of Samsung Display.

In an emotional letter sent to all employees, Vice Chairman Kwon said that announcing his retirement was the most difficult thing for him to do, but now was the right time and that he believes his decision is in the best interest of the company.

“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” Vice Chairman Kwon said “As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry.”

Vice Chairman Kwon stated that during the past 32 years when he served as both a researcher and CEO, he has witnessed the company emerge as a global leader in the semiconductor business and that he harbors a “deep sense of pride and honor to have taken part in the company’s incredible journey to success.”

“There are no words to describe how proud I am that we built together one of the most valuable companies in the world. We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other.”

“But now the company needs a new leader more than ever and it is time for me to move to the next chapter of my life.” He ended his remarks to employees by saying, “I would like to share my sense of pride and honor with you, and thank each one of you for your dedication and commitment to the company.”

Vice Chairman Kwon joined the company in 1985 as a researcher of the company’s Semiconductor Research Institute in the United States. He also served as president and head of the System LSI Division and as president and head of the Semiconductor Business before becoming CEO of the company in 2012. He also has served as the CEO of Samsung Display since 2016.

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