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Samsung said it was expecting record profits — then, its CEO resigned

Saheli Roy Choudhury
Samsung Electronics vice chairman and CEO, Oh-Hyun Kwon, told employees the time was right for a new leader to head the company.

Samsung Electronics said Friday that its vice chairman and chief executive officer, Oh-Hyun Kwon, had decided to step down from management.

That followed an early morning guidance from the South Korean tech giant that it was expecting record operating profits of about 14.5 trillion Korean won ($12.8 billion) for the quarter ending in September.

Kwon will not seek re-election onto the Samsung's board once his current term ends in March, 2018, the company said. He will also resign as CEO of Samsung Display, a position he held since 2016, according to the company.

Following the imprisonment of Jay Y. Lee on charges of bribery and embezzlement, Kwon had been the company's de-facto chief. In August, a South Korean court sentenced Lee to a five-year jail term. The heir to Samsung Group is currently appealing the decision.

Kwon told Samsung employees in a letter that the time was right for him to step down, and that it was in the best interest of the company.

"I believe that time has now come for the company [to] start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry," he said in the letter.

"Now the company needs a new leader more than ever," Kwon added.

He joined Samsung in 1985 as a researcher and was made CEO in 2012.