Communications, Reputation Lead Andrew Bowins Out at Samsung

Departure Follows Numerous Brand Crises in Recent Months

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Following a deluge of crises over the last few months, Samsung North America's corporate communications and reputation leader, Andrew Bowins, is no longer with the company.

Andrew Bowins
Andrew Bowins Credit: Samsung

"During his time at Samsung, Andrew played an important role in the company," said a Samsung spokesperson via email. "We thank him for his contributions and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

It is not immediately clear who will succeed Mr. Bowins or who is taking on his responsibilities in the meantime.

Mr. Bowins, who joined Samsung in the summer of 2015 to oversee corporate communications and reputation management in North America, did not reply to inquiries for comment. According to his LinkedIn profile, Mr. Bowins was tasked with leading a team of 20 professionals and a group of agencies that were responsible for aspects of corporate communications, including issues and risk management, media relations, online communications, executive communications, corporate social responsibility and employee communications.

Samsung has had a number of brand-damaging challenges in recent months, such as permanently canceling production of its Galaxy Note 7 mobile phone in October after reports that the product's battery was catching on fire. That same month, the beleaguered brand forecast a $5.3 billion profit hit associated with the recall and termination of the Note 7 device. This followed on the heels of reports in September that certain Samsung washing machines were exploding.

Aside from its brand issues, Samsung faced scrutiny among industry professionals and the media for its crisis communications response tactics, which were viewed as non-transparent, slow and vague, especially for a technology company.

Moreover, the brand canceled a panel at the Association of National Advertisers' 2016 Masters of Marketing conference in October in which Pio Schunker, senior VP-global head of brand integrated marketing, was slotted to give a speech. The discussion was supposed to be about how to tell a brand's story in today's challenging marketing landscape.

Prior to joining Samsung, Mr. Bowins spent four years handling corporate communications and reputation at MasterCard. Before that, he spent time in communications at Nokia and Dell.

Update: After initally failing to respond for comment before this story was published, Mr. Bowins later sent the following statement: "My decision to leave the company and reinvent my career with balance between my life as a dad and as a reputation expert was planned and not related to recent company events. It took some nerve to walk away but I had the full support of an amazing leadership team at Samsung. The next chapter is being written as we speak. Stay tuned for more news to come."