Roh is taking over the job from co-CEO Koh Dong-Jin, who will continue in his role as the conglomerate's overall IT and Communications unit, Bloomberg said.
According to CIMB analyst Lee Dohoon, Roh's promotion comes as Samsung increases its focus on improving the design and quality of its phones.
"Roh is known to be a person who expanded Samsung's original design manufacturing policy for low- to mid-range smartphones," Dohoon told Bloomberg.
"Samsung may now gradually follow Apple in focusing on design and developments. Though it's expanded outsourcing for production, Samsung will keep a tighter rein on quality control to protect its brands."
Roh, credited for the development of Samsung's Galaxy line, is a through-and-through "engineering maven," according to Bloomberg.
Why It Matters
Roh's promotion comes at a time when the South Korean electronics giant is rushing to capture the 5G smartphone market ahead of competitors, including Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., which is reeling from the United States sanctions on charges of posing a security threat. Huawei's market share in its home country has increased at the same time.
Samsung continues to be the world's largest smartphone maker by market share, accounting for 21% of all smartphones sold in the third quarter of 2019, according to Counterpoint Research. Its rivals Huawei and Apple made up for 18% and 12% of the market.
The company also faces increasing challenges from other low-cost device makers, including Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd, Guangdong OPPO Mobile Telecommunications Corp. Ltd, and Xiaomi Corporation (OTC: XIACF).
Samsung is set to launch the next model of its flagship Galaxy series on February 11, alongside its second foldable phone.
Samsung's shares traded 1.6% lower at $52.65 in Seoul at press time on Tuesday.