Samsung Names Memory Chip Unit Head

Cho Soo-in to take charge of the memory chip division of the company's semiconductor business.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest memory chip manufacturer, has named a new official to take charge of the memory chip division of its semiconductor business.

Cho Soo-in, the chief of Samsung's memory chip production center, was promoted to head of the division, said company spokeswoman Lee Soo-jeong.

Hwang Chang-gyu, Cho's predecessor, remains in his post as president of Samsung's entire semiconductor business, which oversees the memory division, Lee said.

''It's part of our strategy to swiftly respond to a rapidly changing business environment,'' Lee said of the personnel change. The move would also ''enhance efficiency,'' she said

Samsung said Friday its second-quarter net profit fell 5 percent from the same period last year on price declines for its mainstay dynamic random access memory, or DRAM, chips used in personal computers.

The company's operating profit slumped to its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2001, when the entire chip industry was suffering from a collapse in prices.

Hwang is a high-profile figure in South Korean business, where he is considered a potential future president of the entire company.

He became president of Samsung's semiconductor business in 2004, and had been in charge of the memory division since 2000, Lee said.

Besides memory chips, Samsung is also the world's top producer by market share of flat-screen televisions in both liquid crystal and plasma display versions. It is also one of the world's top three makers of mobile phone handsets.

Kim Young-joon, an analyst at Kyobo Securities in Seoul, said Samsung lost market share in the DRAM business in the first quarter to South Korean rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and may also have lost ground in the second quarter.