Samsung Seeks ‘New Start’ as Co-CEO Warns of Exposure to Risks

  • Co-CEO Kwon Oh-hyun says company must push innovation
  • Samsung needs to develop thorough crisis management system

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Samsung Electronics Co. will use its most recent crisis as a catalyst for a new start as the company faces numerous risks it has never experienced before.

The global economy isn’t showing any signs of recovery and Samsung needs to focus on innovation to strengthen competitiveness, co-Chief Executive Officer Kwon Oh-hyun said in a statement Tuesday.

Samsung has been ensnared in crisis since its Note 7 smartphones started catching fire shortly after their release in August. The company later issued a global recall before killing off the marquee model with the episode estimated to cost more than $6 billion.

“The latest crisis made us look back at ourselves and think maybe we have grown complacent, and it served as momentum for a new start,” Kwon told 400 employees on the 47th anniversary of the electronics company’s founding. “We should continue to push for innovation in order to strengthen our competitiveness and technology leadership.”

Kwon urged the company to develop a thorough crisis-management system so that it can respond to issues better.

Kwon’s comments come less than a week after Lee Jae-yong, the crown prince of the founding family that controls Samsung Group, officially joined the phonemaker’s nine-person board. The move gives the low-profile executive, also known as Jay Y., a bigger say over top management and strategic calls, including restructurings, mergers and asset sales.

Last week, Samsung reported a 17 percent slump in September quarter profit as the recall took its toll. The Suwon, South Korea-based company has said the Note 7 fallout would affect earnings in the final quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2017.

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