Samsung Electronics picks veteran executive to tackle ‘chip crisis’ amid AI boom

By Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics has replaced the chief of its semiconductor division to help the group overcome a “chip crisis”, amid a booming market for AI chips where analyst say the world’s biggest memory chipmaker lags peers.

The South Korean manufacturer on Tuesday said it has appointed Young Hyun Jun, effective immediately, moving him from the role as head of its future business planning unit.

Jun previously led Samsung’s memory chip department after working on the development of DRAM and flash memory chips.

The move is likely aimed at catching up in the market for top-end chips used in artificial intelligence (AI) such as high bandwidth memory (HBM) chips where Samsung has fallen behind rivals such as SK Hynix, analysts said.

“This is a preemptive measure to strengthen future competitiveness by renewing the atmosphere internally and externally,” Samsung Electronics said in a statement.

The firm said Jun, a former chief executive at battery arm Samsung SDI and former executive at Samsung Electronics’ memory chip business, would help overcome the “chip crisis” with his management know-how.

Samsung Electronics picks veteran executive to tackle 'chip crisis' amid AI boom
FILE PHOTO: A visitor uses a Samsung Electronics’ flagship smartphone Galaxy S24 during its unveiling ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, January 15, 2024. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File photo

Replacing such a high-ranking position in the middle of the year is unusual, given most personnel changes at Samsung normally take place in the beginning of the year, analysts said.

Current chip division chief Kye Hyun Kyung will succeed Jun as head of the future business unit.

“The chip division has been lagging in competitiveness on various fronts. It also missed a lot of the global AI upward trend,” said analyst Lee Min-hee at BNK Investment & Securities.