Son de­motes dad in bat­tle to con­trol S. Korea re­tailer

The China Post - - BUSINESS INDEX & - BY YOUKYUNG LEE

A fam­ily bat­tle for con­trol of South Korea’s largest re­tailer has erupted in public af­ter the group’s 92-year-old founder was de­moted to a pow­er­less role in the busi­ness by his youngest son.

Shin Dong-bin, 60, has been try­ing to so­lid­ify his con­trol of the Lotte con­glom­er­ate, which has busi­nesses in South Korea, Ja­pan, China and South­east Asia, in the face of op­po­si­tion from his older brother Shin Dong- joo, 61, and his fa­ther Shin Kyuk-ho.

Shin Dong-bin on Mon­day said his brother and fa­ther had at­tempted to sack him as chair­man of Lotte but their ef­forts had no le­gal stand­ing.

In re­sponse to those ma­neu­vers, Lotte had ear­lier de­moted Shin Kyuk-ho to honorary chair­man, from gen­eral chair­man over­see­ing Lotte’s busi­nesses in Ja­pan and South Korea. It said the de­mo­tion was nec­es­sary to pre­vent the 92-year-old from be­ing ma­nip­u­lated by peo­ple seek­ing con­trol over the com­pany.

Fam­ily- owned busi­ness con­glom­er­ates dom­i­nate South Korea’s econ­omy. Feuds that spill out­side the in­ner cir­cle pro­vide the public with an oc­ca­sional glimpse into the in­ner work­ings of busi­ness em­pires that for the most part are opaque and un­ac­count­able.

Shin Kyuk-ho, one of the many Kore­ans who mi­grated to Ja­pan when the Korean penin­sula was un­der Ja­panese rule, founded Lotte as a chew­ing gum maker in Ja­pan in 1948.

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