Samsung replaces chip boss amid concerns about leadership position


Samsung said Tuesday that it has replaced the head of its chip division __ a move that reflects the company’s worries about its dominance in the semiconductor market.

The South Korean tech giant said it has appointed Jun Young-hyun as head of its Device Solutions (DS) division. Samsung explained that the move was a “preemptive measure” aimed at enhancing the future competitiveness of semiconductors.

Jun, the former CEO of battery maker Samsung SDI and a senior executive of Samsung’s memory business, is expected to use his expertise to overcome the “semiconductor crisis.” , the company added.

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Outgoing head Kyung Kye-hyun, who led the DS division for the previous two years, will continue to head the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), a position traditionally reserved only for former CEOs and department head.

It is extremely unusual for Samsung to replace such a key position in May because the company typically announces a leadership reshuffle near the end of the year. Although the company did not specify what the semiconductor crunch is, it could refer to the fierce competition that the memory business, the company’s most profitable unit, is facing. face.

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Samsung is still the world’s largest memory chip manufacturer with a long gap compared to rivals SK Hynix and Micron. However, it has fallen behind domestic rival SK Hynix in high-bandwidth memory (HBM), a type of chip whose demand has skyrocketed in the past two years due to the boom in artificial intelligence (AI). This chip is considered a new growth driver for memory manufacturers. SK Hynix is ​​currently the largest HBM3E supplier to Nvidia for their AI chips.

Samsung reported Operating profits increased 900% in the first quarter of this year, but this must not be very pleasant as this increase has more to do with the cyclical nature of the memory chip market and signals the start of an up cycle after two years of recession.

A longtime Samsung veteran, Jun is known as a technology expert for the Korean tech giant and is responsible for making key DRAM and NAND breakthroughs for the company. His appointment can be seen as a return to basics of focusing on technological advancements in trusted hands.

HBM consists of multiple vertically stacked DRAM dies, so Jun’s main focus will be on closing the gap in the product portfolio with SK Hynix and possibly upgrading them in the coming years. Samsung announced that they have developed 12-cell HBM3E in February before rivals.

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