“It’s sad and shameful at the same time,” one worker said
The people who make Samsung phones are an elite bunch. They hold the most coveted jobs at the most valuable company within Samsung Group, the largest and most prestigious conglomerate in South Korea.
But the sense of exceptionalism was smashed last week as Samsung Electronics Co. took the unprecedented step of killing off an entire generation of its Note 7 smartphone after persistent problems with battery fires and explosions. Now the 26,600 workers in Korea who were celebrated for taking the company’s profit and brand to new heights are seen as responsible for the worst crisis in Samsung Electronics’s 47-year history. A sense of gloom has descended, employees say, describing the episode as sad and tragic.
Samsung has said the fiasco will cost more than $5 billion and the phone unit will probably pay a steep price. The division has often received the biggest bonuses within Samsung Group, typically about half of base salary, and employees now suspect they may get nothing. Some senior executives will likely lose their jobs too, including perhaps chief D.J. Koh.
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