Samsung Nigeria boss Korean national David Suh accused of racism, enabling hostile work environment


Updated: March 7, 2021

From the very first day when he was deployed to Nigeria about five months ago to oversee Samsung Electronics’ operations in Africa’s most populous nation, Korean National David Suh began to dismantle virtually everything that had made the Korean multinational conglomerate founded by Lee Byung-chul in 1938 a huge African success.

When Lee Byung-chul founded Samsung in 1938, it was a trading company headquartered in Samsung Town, Seoul. However, it was because of its ethical practices and great work environment philosophy that Sansung thrived, diversified into many areas, including food processing, textiles, insurance, securities, and retail, before entering the electronics industry in the late 1960s and the construction and shipbuilding industries in the mid-1970s, areas that would drive its subsequent growth.

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“Perhaps the greatest happiness in the world comes from realizing one’s purpose in life. I have been fortunate enough to dedicate my entire life to business and resolutely dedicate my efforts to patriotic entrepreneurial endeavors,” Lee Byung-chul said in his “My Managerial Philosophy” in November 1976.

Perhaps the greatest happiness in the world comes from realizing one’s purpose in life. I have been fortunate enough to dedicate my entire life to business and resolutely dedicate my efforts to patriotic entrepreneurial endeavors – Lee Byung-chul, November 1976

Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul

Even after Samsung was separated into four business groups – Samsung GroupShinsegae GroupCJ Group and Hansol Group, following Lee’s death in 1987, the company continued to apply the same work environment principles, which allowed Samsung to increasingly globalize its activities and electronics in the 1990s, particularly its mobile phones and semiconductors.

In 2017, Samsung had the 6th highest global brand value.

But these principles and great work environment ethics are being eroded in Nigeria and staff are warning that the five-month reign of David Suh if not stopped now may completely bring the company to its knees.

Mr Suh who was unable to comment for this report is accused of masterminding a hostile work environment and racism, two accusations that have pushed several staff to storm out of the company.

Suh is also accused of intimidating staff and telling many to their faces that he does not like them.

Workers who spoke with TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA, asked to remain anonymous for fear of being discriminated against by Suh.

Korean National David Suh accused of racism, threatening the success of Samsung in Nigeria

The workers said when Suh assumed duty in Nigeria some five months ago, he began to immediately exhibit what many saw as a great source of concern but they decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. However, as time went on, things got even worse.

Some top members of staff left the company out of frustration, and as they put it in writing “on account of Suh’s unruly intimidating nature”.

Suh himself was alleged to have personally sacked several others.

In a particular department that used to be dominated by Nigerians, staff said Suh has fired almost all of them only because they are blacks.

Suh is said to be so arrogant and intimidating that he tells Nigerians to their faces that he doesn’t like them.

“Workers are said to be working under fear and psychological trauma that emanates from sack threat Suh regularly frightens them with, especially as it’s evident his threats are usually not empty,” they told TODAY NEWS AFRICA USA.

They added that “dealers and distributors of the company are said not to have been spared of Suh’s arrogance and abusive nature as they are said to have tasted from his frivolous tongue. Some of the dealers and distributors reportedly walked out of a meeting he had with them in Abuja when he told he allegedly told them they could go if they would agree to his terms of operations”.

They said Suh has always been a liability to the Korean company as Nigeria is said not to be the first place he would throw the organization into a chaotic state.

While he superintended over the organization’s operations in Senegal, the workers on a particular occasion were said to have shut down operations to protest against high handedness, victimization and what was referred to as total disrespect of members of staff by the managing director.

This singular incident was said to have earned him a query from the head office in Korea and a recommendation that he undergoes training at Human Relations Management Institute.

He was alleged to have been taken out of the organization’s Senegal branch when the good he was doing to the company was nothing compared to his negative influence on the reputation of the organization.

He was said to have flouted a lot of labor rules in the country and got into trouble with the Labor union and Samsung was dragged to court.


Simon Ateba Washington DC
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on


  1. Nigerians are funny. Threatening someone over a Blog Post. If you find the Writer, then what next?

    A Cow ll think it’s the Largest Animal in the World because it’s stuck on a Farm. If you do anyhow, you ll see anyhow

  2. Mr Simeon Ateba or whatever your name his According to your write up I dont know how much you where paid to blackmail somebody but trust me you’re a learner because you don’t know Anything. The Samsung MD you’re referring to is a performer infact the few months you’re talking about he has changed Samsung Nigeria positively with his wonderful skills of work, punctuality, dedication, commitment, Good human relationship, team leader and staff friendly let me mention but few. Mr David greets you first whenever or wherever he sees you no matter how small you are, few days in office he interviewed all his staffs one after the other asking them about their challenges and the way forward infact he puts other people’s interest first before his ,his an exemplenary leader with a Good heart which I am a beneficiary in which I can attest to Anyday Anytime. Please next time do your home work thoroughly and research before you come and disgrace yourself publicly because next time you cast aspersions on an innocent man who’s doing his job professionally you might not be lucky, take these as a serious and last warning. (I CAN TRACK YOU) my contact is below.

  3. Hello everyone
    I read this article with a lot of disappointments and regrets.
    I had to work with Mr Shu for 3 years in Senegal but, like our leaders and our countries, nigerian’employees are victimizing themselves instead of working to the good running of this great company Samsung.
    Let’s avoid treating foreign managers Who teaches us how to work well and how to get rid of our lazy habits as racists.
    A lot of employees want only to take advantage from their company but never serve this one.
    In Senegal,Mr Shu rationalized Samsung’s expenses and just sent out employees Who remaind only because of big salaries.
    An example:How a marketing manager of company prestigious as Samsung can exercise his activity without knowing his market and actors’profiles.
    Let’ stop victimizing ourselves and treat good managers as racist.
    I am convinced that many of those Who liked this article would have chosen a bad racist manager but Who would have left them with their advantages than a good manager as Me Shu who does micro management and challenges the workers.
    Is Boko Haram racist?
    They are killing Africans.
    Let’s talk about the Reals reasons.
    Talk about why Samsung’s bad results in Nigeria and the responsability of Nigerian employees instead of continuing to entertain people.
    Mr Shu good kick.

  4. Wow. I guess Samsung is getting a taste of what LG Electronics have been getting for the past 6 years. Only difference, some people choose to stand up to the tyranny in Samsung.


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