Samsung is no stranger to scandal these days. The company’s former vice chairman Jay Y. Lee ended up in prison recently after being caught up in the bribery scandal that brought down former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. There may be a controversy brewing in Samsung’s US arm as well. Samsung Chief Marketing Officer Marc Mathieu has abruptly resigned following an investigation into kickbacks between Samsung employees and marketing partners.
Mathieu is responsible for Samsung’s focus on partnering with YouTubers and other creatives rather than going through traditional ad agencies. The Wall Street Journal reports that Samsung conducted the investigation to uncover potential bribery and kickbacks that created conflicts of interest. The company worried that marketing executives would direct resources to channels that were not the best for Samsung.
Samsung hasn’t commented on the outcome of the marketing audit or even confirm that it conducted one. The WSJ says the audit has been big news inside the company—an unknown number of marketing employees were fired without severance on March 15th when the investigation wrapped up. Mathieu’s departure was announced before that, but the timing is suspect. It’s possible he caught the blame for allowing the alleged kickbacks to affect marketing operations. Again, Samsung isn’t offering any specifics and has yet to name a replacement for Mathieu.