Samsung conducted an internal investigation of its marketing operation in the United States and dismissed several employees as a result, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal . The moment is remarkable given that Samsung's marketing director for almost four years, Marc Mathieu, abruptly left the company last week.
Mathieu's name may not be familiar, but it was crucial for Samsung to invest in the YouTube creator community and lead the company through several difficult periods. These include handling the disastrous removal of the Galaxy Note 7 in 2016. Mathieu also helped launch the Galaxy S8 and the S8 Plus the following year, phones that contributed a lot to restoring the company's battered reputation.
Most recently, he led collaborations with YouTubers such as Casey Neistat to "humanize" the company; He led an industry-wide push to invest in technology YouTubers and other creators rather than traditional advertising agencies, laying the foundation for much of that industry today. "The creators are today, in a certain way, the marketers and advertisers of our products," he said last year.
According to the WSJ Samsung was investigating whether or not its marketing personnel had violated the company's Policy with respect to agreements with business partners. It is the type of audit that would have sought bribes or other forms of bribery between Samsung staff and marketing partners. But it is not clear what type of violations the audit found.
The WSJ notes that marketing employees often accompany partners to sponsored entertainment events such as the Super Bowl or the Oscars, and that such behavior may pose a conflict of interest. . This behavior could question "if marketers are directing resources to the best performing marketing channels," the publication said.
Samsung declined to comment on whether the audit was carried out or not, or if Mathieu's departure was linked to the investigation.
In a statement sent by email to The Verge the company downplayed any infringement. "Recently, changes have been made in the organization of our marketing division," said one representative. "We have a strong management team in the US that remains focused on continuing to provide our customers in North America with the products and experiences they expect from the Samsung brand."
Mathieu and Samsung said last week that the first The executive was moving to look for other opportunities, although Samsung still has to name a replacement.
According to the report of WSJ the audit has caused great concern within Samsung. The publication notes that some staff members withdrew without dismissal on March 15 after the audit (although Mathieu's departure was announced before this). According to reports, employees said that Samsung's findings were trivial and that they were being treated unfairly.