Game of Phones: management shake-up looms at Samsung

24 Nov 2014

Pictured: Samsung co-CEO BK Yoon may be about to take over the helm of Samsung's ailing mobile division

Korean electronics giant Samsung is preparing for a management shake-up following a difficult year in mobile. Current co-CEO BK Yoon may be about to take over control of the mobile division from JK Shin.

In a 21st century style Game of Thrones the changes could be far-reaching as the Korean manufacturer struggles to regain the initiative in the face of strong competition from Apple as well as the rise of a new cohort of low-cost smartphone makers in China.

Yoon’s move into the mobile communications role could tie in with his drive in the direction of internet of things technologies and smart homes.

Earlier this year Yoon signed off on Samsung’s acquisition of connected home start-up SmartThings.

Samsung’s third quarter profits fell 60pc as competition in the smartphone space intensified due to competition from players like Huawei and Xiaomi.

Not only that but Apple’s launch of a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 added to the strain.

Another misstep was over-production of the Galaxy S5 smartphone by 20pc more than what was needed. This resulted in warehouses being full of unsold devices and an increase in marketing spend to shift the devices.

Overall Samsung sold 40pc fewer Galaxy S5 devices than expected.

An internal restructuring, according to the Wall Street Journal, has yet to be decided upon as part of an annual review but the changes may go well beyond the mobile division.

Following the hospitalization of Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee after a heart attack it is envisaged his son Jay Y Lee, currently a Samsung vice-chairman, may assume the chairman’s role.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years