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Samsung replaces mobile chief as smartphone lead dwindles

Samsung is replacing its mobile phone company chief for the first time in six years.

The Samsung Group conglomerate said Koh Dongjin had been promoted to Samsung Electronics president and would replace Shin Jong-kyun as the head of the mobile business at the flagship division.

Samsung's smartphone lead has been dwindling as competition intensifies.

Mr Shin will step away from day-to-day operations and focus on long-term strategies. He keeps his title of chief executive of the IT and mobile division that encompasses phone, network and computer businesses.

Mr Koh, an engineer, was an executive vice president leading mobile research and development.

He led the development of two flagship smartphones released this year, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5. He was also behind the development of Samsung's mobile payments system.

Samsung Electronics' smartphone sales lead has narrowed in the face of competition from Apple in the premium market and Chinese companies in cheaper devices.

The management change comes as Lee Jae-yong, the only son of ailing Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, takes a bigger role in the company after his father suffered a heart attack last May.

Mr Shin became the head of mobile in 2010 and three years later, Samsung was the world largest smartphone supplier despite being a latecomer behind Apple.

But in the past year its global smartphone market share has dropped to less than one quarter and its quarterly mobile profit shrank to less than half of its best quarters.

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