Samsung reported a 34% year-on-year decline in mobile revenue to 23.52 trillion Won (£14.2 bn) in October due to poor smartphone sales. It follows intense competition from cheaper Chinese vendors, eating into sales of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone.
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), JK Shin, Samsung’s mobile chief, will keep his role in a wider management shuffle, with sales and marketing boss Lee set to take the fall.
Samsung refused to comment on the matter and it is not clear who might replace Lee should he depart.
Lee is a prominent public figure at Samsung, usually presenting the company’s latest devices and commenting on new launches or innovations. As noted by the WSJ, Lee has often replaced Shin onstage to demo new phones.
Samsung announced wider management changes, with all three co-chief executive officers remaining in place, despite poor results. Lee Jae Yong, the vice chairman, announced 11 changes to the team, citing business performance.
Lee has become increasingly visible at Samsung after the hospitalisation of his father, company chairman Lee Kun Hee, in May.
However, the company has seen a decline in fortunes across the business, including IT and communications and consumer electronics.