Samsung’s mobile boss was uncharacteristically confident during the Galaxy S8 event and that’s a good thing

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8+ at an event in New York City last night. As is the case with the company’s keynotes, it was opened by the chief of its mobile business, Dong-jin Koh. Koh took over the reins of the mobile business from J.K. Shin back in December 2015. Having joined Samsung in 1984, Koh had been instrumental in developing platforms like Samsung Knox and Samsung Pay.

The profiles done by major business publications on Koh suggest that he’s a soft-spoken executive who is well-liked within Samsung and is known to be direct and hardworking. His soft-spoken demeanor is one that we’ve all become accustomed to as well given that he has been opening Samsung’s keynotes for the past couple of years. However, he appeared a bit different last night.

Samsung has a point to prove with the Galaxy S8. This is the first flagship smartphone from the company since the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco last year which led to a lot of speculation about the company’s ability to deliver a great flagship product. Having lost billions of dollars due to the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung obviously needs the Galaxy S8 to perform well. It also needs to project confidence in its abilities and we saw Koh doing that rather uncharacteristically – for lack of a better word – during the Galaxy S8 event yesterday.


Koh came off as really passionate last night as he was building up the Galaxy S8 reveal. Koh highlighted the company’s achievements in the mobile market over the past few decades and got us all excited about the start of a new era which may see Samsung pushing the envelope further on design. He drilled on the point that Samsung’s utmost commitment is to quality, safety and craftsmanship, primarily to allay any lingering concerns about product safety.

“This commitment is the foundation for every step we take,” he said, adding that the company is honored that millions of customers around the world trust Samsung’s product. Throughout the entire presentation his body language projected a newfound level of confidence and as he delivered this point home he put up his fist to really emphasize how Samsung feels about the trust its customers have placed in it.


He actually made good use of his fists and animated gestures last night to confidently get the message across that Samsung has not been bogged down by the Galaxy Note 7′s failure and that it’s all in the past. The message he gave to the world and the company’s customers yesterday was akin to a vote of confidence in the company’s ability to overcome challenges and stay true to its “heritage of innovation and stunning design.”

It is no doubt personal for Koh as the Galaxy Note 7′s failure happened under his watch as head of the mobile business. There was even some speculation of him being replaced as the boss but Samsung remains confident in his leadership qualities to lead the mobile business out of last year’s mess and into the future.

This show of strength exudes faith and confidence in Samsung’s ability to forge a new path, to push ahead no matter what the obstacle and demonstrate to the world that it’s still a force to be reckoned with.

I think he did a pretty good job of driving that point home. Wouldn’t you agree?

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