"It is with mixed emotions that I have resigned from Samsung Electronics effective the end of next week, for an incredible new opportunity," Mr. Weedfald wrote in an e-mail sent to Samsung contacts and colleagues last evening.
Sales down 11%
During his tenure, Samsung rose to become the largest maker of LCD TVs as well as the No. 3 seller of mobile phones globally. However, the Seoul, Korea, company posted earlier today its smallest operating profit in three years with sales off 11% year over year, blamed on shrinking margins of mobile phones and LCD TVs, along with increased competition.
Mr. Weedfald, a self-described "sales guy," believed strongly that sales and marketing were inseparable departments and functions. His innovative programs, as well as engaging and colorful personality, helped put Samsung Electronics in the forefront of consumers', media, and marketing partners' minds. The brand leapt over archrival Sony for the first time in Interbrand's 2005 annual ranking of the best global brands, with Samsung's brand value rising 19% to reach No. 20 over Sony's No. 28.
Mr. Weedfald other moves included striking movie deals for Samsung products, such as a placement in "Fantastic Four" and more recently "Superman Returns," increased spending on online advertising with the creation of a widespread network of Samsung ad inventory on some 425 Web sites, and oversaw the launch of the "Samsung Experience," a glamorous showcase of products -- although none for sale -- in the AOL Time Warner center in New York.
He also instituted the Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope program which paired celebrities with retailers including Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA and Sears to raise money for charity, which to date has raised more than $7 million.
Before joining Samsung in 2001, Mr. Weedfald held key roles at electronics makers ViewSonic, and permission-marketing agency Bigfoot Interactive, and before that spent almost a decade in various sales roles with publisher Ziff Davis.