Saying the past year has been rough for Samsung would be the understatement to end all understatements — but the company is showing its resilience with the quick appointment of three new co-CEOs and record-setting Q3 2017 profits.
The company suffered through two rounds of recalls and the ultimate discontinuation of its combustion-prone Galaxy Note 7 in the fall of 2016, then found itself embroiled in a South Korean political scandal that led to the arrest and conviction of Samsung Group Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee. Following that the company’s former CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun, unexpectedly stepped down from his post, and former co-CEOs Yoon Boo-keun and Shin Jong-kyun.
Now, Samsung will have three co-CEOs, each of which will have a different area of focus. The South Korean tech giant has appointed Kim Ki-nam to head up the components business, Kim Hyun-suk (HS Kim) to run consumer electronics and Koh Dong-jin (DJ Koh) to lead mobile and IT.
The management news follows Samsung’s recent announcement of its highest ever quarterly profits. The company posted 14.53 trillion won (approximately $13 billion USD) in operating profit, surpassing last quarter’s record of 14.1 trillion won.
Revenue jumped 29.8 percent to 55.4 billion, which was in line with the company’s earlier projections.
Samsung cites the Galaxy Note 8 as the main contributor towards strong mobile shipments, selling over four million units since the phone launched in September. Analysts said this helps compensate for the slower sales that the Samsung Galaxy S8 faced earlier in 2017.
That said, overall profit in the mobile division actually declined from last quarter as a result of higher sales of lower-end model phones, such as the Galaxy J line.
The chip business, meanwhile, was Samsung’s top earner, booking a record $8.9 billion operating profit, up from from approximately $3 billion this time last year. Profit margins widened thanks to higher demand for DRAM and NAND memory chips, both of which Samsung is a top producer of.
Going forward, Samsung is on track for record full-year profit, with analysts forecasting an even better fourth-quarter thanks to strong memory chip prices and OLED screen sales driven by Apple’s upcoming iPhone X.
“For 2018, the company expects earnings to grow primarily from the component businesses, as conditions in the memory market are likely to remain favourable and the company expects increased sales of flexible OLED panels,” Samsung said in a statement.