Samsung appoints its youngest president as mobile boss amid rising competition from Chinese brands

Samsung has announced that 51-year-old Roh Tae-moon will replace DJ Koh as chief of its mobile Samsung

In a bid to counter the competition from Chinese smartphone vendors, South Korea's Samsung Electronics has appointed its youngest president, Roh Tae-moon, to head its mobile division, in what can be seen as the company's biggest management reshuffle in years.

Roh is the youngest president of Samsung at 51, and has previously headed Samsung's mobile development division, where he led the development of Samsung's Galaxy mobile devices.

Championed Samsung's outsourcing strategy

He is also said to have been instrumental in championing the world's biggest smartphone company's strategic shift to outsource more phones to Chinese and other companies in order to cut costs and compete better with rivals. Samsung believes his dynamism and expertise would help the company take on Chinese smartphone makers to make up for the lost market share in the smartphone business.

DJ Koh will head IT & Communications division

Samsung logo as seen during Galaxy Note 8 consumer launch event in Jakarta, Indonesia September 29, 2017 Beawiharta/Reuters

The company has also said in a statement that former mobile chief, DJ Koh, will continue to lead Samsung's IT & mobile communications (IM) division, which includes both mobile devices and network equipment. Samsung has also promoted its former network business chief Cheun Kyun-whoon to the president.

Samsung was expected to make the announcements regarding the organizational reshuffle last year but the company remained silent because of the ongoing legal issues involving de facto leader Lee Jae-yong and over 30 other Samsung executives.

Samsung trying to capitalize on Huawei's security fears

Samsung has been pouring a lot of resources into its telecom network equipment business as well, aiming to cash in on the security fears surrounding Huawei. The world's largest telecommunications equipment maker is currently facing a ban in the US and battling allegations by the US government and other Western governments that its equipment is being used by China for spying, and hence should not be used in the upcoming 5G networks.

Growing competition from Chinese manufacturers

Meanwhile, the management reshuffle at Samsung comes at a time when the company is facing heated competition from the Chinese smartphone makers, and can be seen as a bid to take on the Chinese smartphone companies who seem to have eaten into its market share in several countries.

Chinese smartphone start-up Xiaomi—in a span of just three years—dethroned Samsung from the top spot in the Indian smartphone market, which is the world's second-largest smartphone market after China. Huawei, which dethroned Apple to become the world's second largest smartphone manufacturer, is also closing in on Samsung despite the controversy surrounding the company's US ban.

Related topics : Samsung Huawei