Kwon did not mention the scandal, but said the company now needed a new leader: "As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry".
And its de facto leader Jay Y. Lee was found guilty of bribery and corruption charges related to a far-reaching scandal that resulted in the ouster of former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Kwon is also leaving his position as chief executive of Samsung Display, which he has held since 2016.
Back at Samsung headquarters, Kwon said he will step down next March, when his term as board chairman ends. "It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off". Operating income nearly tripling to a record 14.5 trillion won ($12.8 billion) in the three months ended September, according to preliminary results.
Analysts said the company was likely to post another all-time high quarterly operating profit of somewhere between 15 and 17 trillion won in the October-December period as IT/mobile business is expected to contribute greater earnings as well.
"[Samsung] has been showing record performances", Kwon said.
"We are fortunately making record earnings right now, but this is the fruit of past decisions and investments", he stated.
Samsung 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.
The departure of 32-year Samsung veteran Kwon after five years in the top job comes at a time of leadership uncertainty at the firm.
Kwon was named CEO in 2012, and had been leading the multi-faceted electronics juggernaut since Lee's sentencing in August; he'd joined Samsung in 1985.
However, Samsung's legitimate business would appear to be ticking over nicely, with the company revealing its financial forecasts for the rest of the year.