SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Korea Bizwire) – Changes in leadership for the U.S. branches of Samsung and LG are causing a minor stir in industry circles as speculation that the former’s success may have been a factor in the latter’s decision.
On November 9, it was reported that LG Senior VP of Home Appliance Sales John Riddle had announced his retirement after six years with the firm. Both Riddle and LG’s statement listed “personal reasons” as the motivation behind Riddle’s decision.
Considered a living legend in the industry for his 38 years of experience, Riddle’s resume includes stints at Philips, Electrolux and Hisense before embarking on a 22-year run at Whirlpool-owned Maytag. He joined the B2B sales department at LG Electronics USA as a VP in 2011.
Riddle previously served as the head director of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), and he stepped into the spotlight when he testified at the trade hearings discussing the possible implementation of U.S. safeguards for LG and Samsung Electronics products. He achieved recognition in South Korea for his comments in support of LG, notable for parrying accusations from his former long-time employer Whirlpool.
At the ripe age of 61, many would say Riddle has achieved an enviable amount of success since he followed in his father’s footsteps by working in home appliance sales many years ago. However, with the glowing successes being achieved by an executive at company rival Samsung, there are some who wonder whether there is a connection, no matter how slight, between the retirement of John Riddle and the rise of Tim Baxter.
Baxter was also at the trade hearings presided over by the U.S. International Trade Commission, where he emphatically dismissed the allegations against Samsung by testifying, “We categorically reject Whirlpool’s assertions… We have invested, we have competed fairly and the consumers continue to vote with their wallets” (reported by Reuters).
Formerly at telecoms company AT&T and Sony’s North American branch as senior VP of marketing, Baxter joined Samsung Electronics in 2006 and steadily rose to the top, being named CEO and president of Samsung Electronics North America in July. His ascension also bears the distinction of being the first non-Korean executive to be named president within the company.
His nomination was based on glowing reviews of his performance in maintaining Samsung’s pole position in the North American TV market and making extraordinary gains in the home appliances arena.
Despite the rumors, LG Electronics has shot down any mention of a causal relationship between the two executives. “What we know is that John Riddle expressed his desire to start a new chapter in his life… He was proud of his term at LG Electronics,” the company stated.