Samsung engineering maven to lead world’s top phone business

  • Technology
  • Tuesday, 21 Jan 2020

Seoul: Samsung Electronics Co has appointed Taemoon Roh the head of its smartphone division, tasking a veteran executive with oversight of the world’s largest mobile devices business.

Roh, who was formerly the unit’s No. 2 executive, will take over the top job from Koh Dong-Jin from yesterday.

Koh remains head of the South Korean conglomerate’s IT and mobile communications division but hands the reins of smartphones over to a 52-year-old lieutenant credited with building up the marquee Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets. Roh, a two-decade veteran of South Korea’s largest corporation, is regarded internally as an engineering maven who’s meticulous about phone features.

Samsung’s shares climbed as much as 2.5% in Seoul. The largest maker of mobile phones, displays and memory chips shakes up its executive ranks each year, with the extent of the changes often correlated to how its businesses are doing.

This month, the company reported preliminary earnings that showed operating income declining by about a third from a year earlier.

South Korea’s largest company is racing to secure an early lead in fifth-generation wireless smartphones as well as foldables, both of which will take centerstage during its annual Unpacked event in San Francisco in February.

While it still sells more devices than any other brand, Samsung in recent years has come under assault from both long-time adversary Apple Inc as well as new rivals from Huawei Technologies Co to fellow Chinese names Oppo and Vivo.

“Roh is known to be a person who expanded Samsung’s original design manufacturing policy for low- to mid-range smartphones,” said CIMB analyst Lee Dohoon.

“Samsung may now gradually follow Apple in focusing on design and developments. Though it’s expanded outsourcing for production, Samsung will keep a tighter rein on quality control to protect its brands.” — Bloomberg

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