Samsung Electronics names new CFO to manage its $68 billion cash pile

By Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday announced a new chief financial officer (CFO) to be in charge of one of Asia’s biggest corporate cash piles, and said it will create a body within the firm to coordinate with tech affiliates.

The announcement follows the appointment of a new generation of top managers this week to replace leaders of its three main businesses – semiconductors, smartphones and consumer electronics – and a promise to reward shareholders with $26 billion in payouts through 2020.

The shake-up is likely to ease investor concern about a leadership vacuum following the arrest and conviction of Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee on bribery charges earlier this year.

New CFO Roh Hee-chan will oversee some 76 trillion won ($68.27 billion) in cash and cash equivalents as at September-end, which was 8 percent more than three months earlier. Roh was previously CFO of subsidiary Samsung Display Co Ltd.

Samsung Electronics also said it will establish a body to coordinate issues common among the firm and affiliates such as Samsung SDI Co Ltd and Samsung Electro-Mechanics Co Ltd. It did not elaborate.

The wider Samsung Group previously had a Corporate Strategy Office which oversaw group companies, orchestrated major decisions such as asset sales and arranged support for weakened affiliates. It was disbanded in February due to involvement in the graft scandal that led to Lee’s detainment.

Roh’s promotion was one of several announced on Thursday. Others include that of Hwang Deuk-kyu who will head Samsung Electronic’s China business having served as chief of semiconductor production facilities in South Korea. Most other senior executives added ‘president’ to their current job titles.

Samsung also gave advisory roles to former co-Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, former co-CEO and President Yoon Boo-keun and former co-CEO and President J.K. Shin, all three of whom offered to step down last month.

Samsung’s share price has risen around 6 percent in the three days since management changes were first announced, reaching a record 2.876 million won during Thursday trade.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing)