Samsung Electronics has appointed its presidents Yoon Boo-keun and Shin Jong-kyun as co-CEOs of the world's biggest technology company by revenue, a move that is aimed at guaranteeing management independence in key business units.
The appointments result in the Korean technology giant now having three chief executives.
In a statement, the company said the new leadership structure will serve to clarify and enhance independent management of the two set divisions, as well as its component business.
Yoon will keep his current role of managing Samsung's consumer electronics division, which includes TV and appliance products, while mobile chief Shin will remain in charge of the company's information and technology (IT) and mobile communications division.
Kwon will also oversee the company's component business and represent the company at key events. The changes were approved at a recent shareholders' meeting at company headquarters in Seoul.
''Yoon significantly helped Samsung to beat Sony and maintain its global leadership in televisions, while Samsung's mobile business became the world's top since 2011 under Shin's leadership,'' said an executive at Samsung by telephone.
Officials and industry experts said the chief executive's role in the firm is comparable to that of chief operating officers in American firms.
''Much of the critical decision-making is done by the chairman,'' said one official, asking not to be named.
''Samsung is a big company with several divisions. They will benefit from adding some level of diplomacy to their corporate culture, or maybe Samsung is splitting up," said the official.
Yoon is widely-considered the top lieutenant of Samsung Corporate Office Head Choi Gee-sung and mobile chief Shin is expanding his influence amid his divisions' external growth.
Samsung Chief Operating Officer Lee Jay-yong, who is heir-apparent of the nation's industrial kingpin, is expected to get detailed backup from the three CEOs before taking the top helm at Samsung Electronics eventually, replacing his father and current chairman Lee Kun-hee.
Samsung said the multiple-CEO system was aimed at creating more synergy between component and set-making businesses and the new management system will take a cue for its clients not to share classified information it earned from overseas between divisions.
The company is the world's top supplier of flat-screens and memory chips as well as the global top manufacturer of televisions. Clients such as Apple have complained that Samsung is sharing confidential data for product development with other units, which is unethical.
''We don't see any such conflicts. We constructed a solid 'Chinese wall' between components and finished goods,'' the firm said in a press release.
The new system comes after being challenged by emerging rivals from key businesses that Samsung is currently involved.
In terms of semiconductors, Samsung is contending with China's ZTE and Huawei, as well as Qualcomm and Intel as new rivals, with a stronger resolve to better compete with its biggest bitter cross-town rival LG in next-generation TVs and to create a new eco-system in content.
''In today's rapidly changing business situation, we should be much speedier to actively respond to changing market demand,'' said the Samsung official.