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Kim Ki Nam: Samsung’s Driving Force

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Kim Ki Nam: Samsung’s Driving Force

Purnima Narang || The CEO Magazine

Executive Vice President and General Manager of Semiconductor R&D centre at Samsung Electronics, Kinam Kim have been playing a role in transforming the consumer electronics. Under Dr Kim’s leadership, Samsung’s memory business continues to maintain its top market share and technology leadership. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. was founded on 13th January 1969, 50 years ago, headquartered in Samsung Digital City, Samsung 129, Maetan Dong, Yeongton District Suwon, South Korea. The brand has been serving worldwide offering a wide range of products including LCD and LED panels, mobile phones, semiconductors, televisions, digital cinema and others.

Kinam Kim

After suffering from consumer struggles in a period from 1988-1995, where Motorola held over 60% per cent of market share in the South Korean Market, Samsung’s mobile division suffered from poor quality and inferior products. The brand changed its strategy and started designing and manufacturing components and investing in new technologies for other companies.

Dr Kim has been the driving force at Samsung for more than 35 years since he joined the company in 1981. Prior to his current role, he had served in numerous leadership positions including President and CEO of Samsung Display Co. (2012-13) and Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) (2010-12) where he led the research and development of frontier technologies that have significantly impacted the semiconductor industry including the adjacent industries, such as quantum dots, graphene, carbon nanotubes and advanced materials.

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With a background in engineering, Kinam Kim received his Bachelors in Science degree from Seoul National University in 1981 in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Science specializing in Electrical Engineering from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in 1983. Dr Kim received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1994.

Dr Kim has published more than 480 technical papers in top academic journals, including several papers in Nature and Science, and holds more than 130 patents. Dr Kim has been facilitated by various institutes as he is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering, an IEEE Fellow as well as an executive board member of the National Academy of Engineering of Korea. He has made his name in the semiconductor industry and has been honoured with IMEC Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2017 and “Flash Memory Summit Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2016.

Kinam Kim has been contributing to the success of the business and guiding the team of experts towards building solutions that remodelled the technology-based products through various positions in the company. He has been the President and Head, Memory Business (2013-14) continued by President and Head of Semiconductor business (2014-17).

He played a key role in ensuring Samsung’s first-to-market products in DRAM, NAND flash and solid-state drives (SSD) for more than a decade. Samsung introduced the first 1-Gb and 4-Gb dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and advanced the capabilities of NAND flash memory, fuelling the progress of MP3 players, USB memory sticks and memory cards for digital cameras.

He has contributed to the Samsung’s System LSI Business which results in products like Logic IC products such as application processors (AP), modem chipsets, CMOS image sensors and display driver ICs for a wide range of applications. In addition to this, Samsung has launched its foundry business under his guidance which is leading the advanced logic process and specialty technologies, such as radio frequency (RF), the industry’s first high-k metal gate (HKMG) transistor, and 14-nanometer (nm) and 10nm FinFET process technologies.

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