Samsung Electronics may be considering a management shakeup as it faces pressure from cheaper Chinese device makers and Apple’s iPhone in the highly competitive smartphone arena.
The Wall Street Journal laid out a scenario of change that could occur, citing people familiar with the matter, which could result in some changes to the electronics giant’s unusual executive management structure. Samsung has had three co-CEOs since 2013, fairly uncommon in the corporate world. One of those co-CEOs, J.K. Shin, could be moved out of his role overseeing the mobile division. Another co-CEO, B.K. Yoon, could potentially oversee the mobile division on top of his current duties running Samsung’s home-appliance and TV business.
Samsung has in the past claimed that the leadership structure allows for independent management of its vast businesses, which includes smartphones, televisions and other consumer electronics, as well as messaging and services meant for business clients.
A Samsung representative wasn’t immediately available to comment on this report.
Samsung, 13th on Fortune‘s Global 500 list, posted a 17% jump in sales in 2013 to nearly $209 billion — a record for the firm. But the company has faced some challenges in the smartphone market. Samsung’s shipment volume in the third quarter of this year slipped from a year ago, the only company among the top five vendors to report a decline, according to the International Data Corporation. Samsung, which has long relied on its high-end devices, reported better volume for its lower-end models, resulting in lower average selling prices, IDC said.
The company’s stock has had a weak performance since early June, and shares on the Korea Exchange have dropped 11% so far in 2014.