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Samsung replaces most overseas unit chiefs

SEOUL, January 21 – South Korea\’s Samsung Electronics, the world\’s top memory chipmaker, said on Wednesday it was replacing the chiefs of most overseas units as part of a major overhaul to counter the recession.

New bosses have been appointed at five out of eight regional headquarters, the latest move in what the firm described as the biggest reshuffle in its history.

In Korea, more than 80 percent of 1,200 staff at the firm\’s Seoul headquarters have been posted to local production or marketing units.

The aim is to "deploy young and capable personnel in the front line to better handle the global economic crisis," Samsung Electronics spokesman James Jung told AFP.

"It is also to help local units make decisions speedily."

Last week Samsung Electronics consolidated its four key business divisions — semiconductors, liquid crystal displays, mobile phones and consumer electronics — into two major divisions.

The Samsung group, of which the electronics firm is the flagship, promoted or replaced 25 chief executives. It also cut executive pay by 20 percent and slashed other benefits.

The group, which has 250,000 staff in 59 affiliates, accounts for about 20 percent of South Korea\’s annual exports. It is one of the world\’s leading manufacturers of semiconductors, mobile phones and LCD displays.

Samsung Electronics will announce its quarterly earning results Friday.

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The reshuffle is the first since longtime chairman Lee Kun-Hee quit the group last April following a corruption probe ordered by parliament.

Lee was later convicted of tax evasion and given a three-year suspended prison term.

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