Son demotes dad in battle to control S. Korea retailer
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.