Lee Sang-chul, formerly head of the company's Russian operations, has been tapped as head of strategic marketing for the mobile business, a Samsung spokeswoman said.
His predecessor, Kim Seok-pil, stepped down from the role. A person familiar with the matter said Kim's decision was due to health reasons and was unrelated to performance. The executive is expected to return to work at a later time, the person said.
Lee, who also has worked as head of Samsung's Latin American operations, will be charged with overseeing the launch of the new Galaxy S device. The smartphone's success will be critical for Samsung, which saw mobile earnings slide 64 percent from a year earlier in October-December en route to a first annual profit decline in three years.
Analysts said Samsung cannot afford another premium smartphone flop after relatively poor sales of current flagship Galaxy S5 (Review | Pictures). Recent research shows rival Apple Inc may have overtaken Samsung as the world's top smartphone maker in the fourth quarter.
The South Korean company has sent out invitations for a March 1 event in Barcelona - ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show - where its next Galaxy S smartphone is widely expected to unveiled.
© Thomson Reuters 2015