Samsung Electronics announced today that it has appointed Boo-keun Yoon and J.K. Shin as co-CEOs following its annual shareholders meeting. That means the Korean tech giant now has three CEOs: Oh-Hyun Kwon will continue on as CEO and chairman of Samsung’s board of directors.
Yoon will stay in his current role of overseeing Samsung’s consumer electronics division, which includes TV and appliance products, while Shin will remain in charge of the company’s IT and mobile communications division. Samsung’s mobile business became the world’s number one smartphone seller in 2011 under Shin’s leadership.
Fresh from unveiling the Galaxy S4 in New York City, Shin afterwards gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal, in which he said that he’s not satisfied with Samsung’s smartphone market share in the U.S. and that the company is seeing “lackluster demand” for Window-based products in Europe.
In its statement, Samsung said that “the new leadership structure will serve to clarify and enhance independent management of the two set divisions, as well as the independent management of the set and component businesses.”
While having three chief operating officers might seem a little unwieldy, it makes sense for a company that is responsible for one-fifth of South Korean’s $1.1 trillion economy. It’s also worthwhile to note that five years ago, Samsung Electronics underwent a leadership crisis after Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee was involved in a bribery scandal, with Samsung Life Insurance chairman Lee Soo-bin saying at the time that “without a captain or rudder, Samsung now faces a complex crisis, with each unit meeting cut-throat competition independently.” Making the heads of Samsung’s different departments work closely together might be a move to prevent potential fractures in the leadership. (Lee Kun-hee, whose father Lee Byung-chull founded Samsung in 1938, remains in his current position as the boss of everyone.)