Samsung may show the door to nearly 200 executives after the recent Galaxy Note 7 fiasco according to reports from Korea. The company, which currently has 1,000 employees at executive pay level, is expected to apply strict performance evaluation parameters for the annual reshuffle scheduled for December.
"Samsung, which has launched the performance assessment of its executives from this month, plans to cut up to 20% of the entire executive strength," a source from the company told Korean Herald's sister publication The Investor.
Although many of the firings may not be related directly to the Galaxy Note 7 episode, tension has built up over the past few weeks among the executives especially in the mobile division. Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jae-yong, who is said to be one of the core decision makers of the company, is reportedly considering holding top executives accountable for the latest Note 7 blunder that is estimated to wipe out more than 3tn won ($2.65bn) off from its earnings in the coming months.
The chief focus will be on Koh Dong-jin, the president of the mobile division, who was not only in charge of the flagship division from last year but is also credited with playing an integral role in developing the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note series from inception. Koh steered innovative projects like the development of the Stylus Pen for the Note series and the iris scanning technology recently showcased on the Note 7.
Other than Koh, some of his key aides at the mobile development division are also under intense scrutiny, which include Rhee In-jong and Roh Tae-moon, who respectively led the software and hardware units of the mobile R&D division. The two have previously been pitched to take over the mobile division of the company.
Insiders, however, maintain that bringing dramatic changes to the mobile division especially when the company needs these innovative minds will not be easy.
"It is just one year since Koh started leading the mobile business, and dismissing him could undermine the morale of other executives and put too much pressure on his successor," says a Samsung source.