He later served as head of the division producing system semiconductors and then as head of the semiconductor business before becoming CEO of the company in 2012. While Samsung was battered previous year following the Galaxy Note 7 debacle, it seems to have bounced back and will soon announce a much rosier financial position.
Even though Samsung reported its best-ever quarterly profit, Kwon said Samsung is confronting unprecedented crisis and needs a new leader more than ever.
Yonhap Infomax data, based on research from 21 securities firms, also showed Samsung is expected to post an operating profit of 16 trillion won in the fourth quarter, up 74 per cent from a year earlier.
Samsung Electronics says its third-quarter profit likely surged almost three-fold over a year earlier to a new record high.
Kwon plans to resign as head of Samsung's semiconductor and component business and will not seek re-election on the company's board when his term expires in March, Samsung said in a statement.
The move comes just as Samsung has announced record profits, thanks largely to its memory chip business, prompting one industry analysts to describe its timing as "nonsensical".
However, in a sign of good news for the company, its estimated operating profits for the third quarter of 14.5 trillion won (US$12.8 billion) marked a record for quarterly profit, almost tripling the 5.2 trillion won earned a year earlier. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off", Kwon was quoted as saying.
Samsung did not name a successor to Kwon.
The company has a league of executives who manage day-to-day operations, but has usually relied on the leadership and the visions of founding family members for direction.
Lee Jae-yong is the son of Lee Kun-hee, the chairman of Samsung Group, and is seen as the company's heir apparent.
South Korea's largest company has been seeking to move past a bribery scandal that saw Lee thrown into jail, and to overcome a damaging recall previous year of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone over exploding batteries. Hearings on his appeal and those of four other convicted Samsung executives began October 12.