Samsung has replaced CEO Choi Gee-sung with the head of its components operation.
Samsung's components business chief, Kwon Oh-hyun, will now head up the company as chief executive officer. Kwon will continue to run Samsung's component business, but will now be tasked with handling "corporate-wide affairs," Samsung said today. However, the presidents of Samsung's TV and appliances and telecom and IT divisions will not report to Kwon.
Although Choi is no longer chief executive, he hasn't been let go. Quite the contrary, he will now head up the Samsung Group Corporate Strategy Office, a central body that rules over the organization's dozens of companies. Samsung Group is controlled by the chairman of Samsung Electronics, Lee Kun-hee.
According to Reuters, Choi has acted as a mentor to Lee Kun-hee's son Jay Y. Lee, who is expected to take over the group when he's ready for the job. One source, speaking to Reuters, said that Choi will aid Jay Y. Lee in understanding the strategy behind Samsung's many businesses, not just electronics.
Choi made headlines last month after meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook in San Francisco to discuss their patent lawsuit battles. Although the discussions were meant to help the companies come to some form of an agreement, that apparently hasn't happened. Whether Kwon will be actively involved in the legal cases surrounding patents and Apple is unknown at this point.
Updated at 7:15 a.m. PT to include Samsung's confirmation of its executive changes to CNET.