“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off.”
Samsung did not announce a successor. It technically has three chief executives but the other two, Jong-Kyun Shin and Yoon Boo Keun, have stepped back from the day-to-day running of the company.
“With Jay Y Lee also likely to be out of the picture for a few years, the way is open for new blood to take the helm of Samsung and clean-up these long-standing issues,” said Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research.
It came as Samsung Electronics announced that it expected to report revenues around 62 trillion won (£41bn) in the third quarter, up from 47.8 trillion in the same period last year when the company was engulfed by the crisis of its faulty Galaxy Note 7.
It said operating profits would be around 14.5 trillion won, compared to 5.2 trillion won a year ago. While it has seen record demand for its latest Note 8 phone, the biggest driver of revenues have been its memory and display divisions.
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