Samsung Electronics CEO to step down amid "unprecedented crisis"

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Samsung Electronics' CEO is stepping down from the business next year, citing an "unprecedented crisis" facing the company.

Oh-Hyun Kwon, who also serves as head of the manufacturer's Device Solutions Business and CEO of Samsung Display, said he will not seek reelection as Chairman of the Board of Directors when he term expires in March 2018.

In a letter to employees, he wrote: “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.

“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.”

While he did not specify the details of the crisis, it has been a tumultuous time for the Korean company. Samsung's Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong was jailed for five years in August after being found guilty of corruption.

Last year, Samsung Electronics was forced to halt production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after reports of battery failure and some devices catching fire.

However, Samsung remains at the cutting edge of smartphone sales, which saw sales grow by eight percent in the second quarter of 2017, according to figures from Gartner.

It holds a 22.5 percent market share of the smartphone business, ahead of Apple which holds 12.1 percent.

Kwon joined the company in 1985 as a researcher at Samsung's Semiconductor Research Institute in the United States. He has also served as President and head of Samsung's System LSI (large scale integration) Division and its semiconductor business.