Samsung Electronics creates office for product quality improvement

The logo of Samsung Electronics is seen at its office in Seoul, South Korea February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL (Reuters) - Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Thursday it had created an office for global product quality improvements, as the firm tries to recover from the costly failures of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

Kim Jong-ho, the president at shipbuilding affiliate Samsung Heavy Industries Co Ltd, would move to Samsung Electronics to head the team overseeing efforts to improve product quality and manufacturing processes, the company said.

“President Kim Jong-ho, a top manufacturing expert, will lead product quality and manufacturing improvement efforts for all of Samsung Electronics’ set businesses,” Samsung said in a statement.

The decision is the latest step in the South Korean firm’s strategy to rebuild consumer trust after it was forced to end sales of the near-$900 Note 7 phones in October due to fires caused by battery defects.

Its Galaxy S8 smartphones are expected to launch in April and Samsung is under immense pressure to ensure its new flagship device runs smoothly and safely.

Rival Apple Inc passed Samsung as the world’s top smartphone maker in the fourth quarter, while the Note 7’s collapse is estimated to have wiped out about 6.1 trillion won ($5.35 billion) in operating profit for Samsung.

The firm has already pledged multiple improvements to ensure product safety, including more rigorous battery tests and more stringent standards from the initial planning stages.

Kim, who will report directly to Samsung Electronics Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun, was a mobile business executive at Samsung Electronics focused on manufacturing processes before his stint at Samsung Heavy.

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates