Lotte beefs up managerial efforts amid chairman's imprisonment

By Yonhap
  • Published : Mar 13, 2018 - 11:45
  • Updated : Mar 13, 2018 - 11:45

South Korean retail giant Lotte said Tuesday it is striving to overcome a series of challenges from home and abroad, including a leadership vacuum caused by the arrest of its chairman, by strengthening executives' on-site managerial activities.

Lotte Shopping Co. CEO Kang Hee-tae recently met with institutional investors to explain the situation faced by the company and its strategies to overcome the crisis, according to Lotte. The firm is Lotte's key retail subsidiary, running department stores and a hypermarket chain.

Lotte Group Vice Chairman Lee Won-joon, who is in charge of the group's retail businesses, has been holding a series of meetings with executives at its affiliates to discuss ways to resolve the current situation, it said.

Chairman Shin Dong-bin (center)(Yonhap)

The latest moves come after group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last month for giving 7 billion won ($6.4 million) in bribes to a foundation run by ex-President Park Geun-hye's friend in return for business favors.

Lotte Shopping, meanwhile, fell into the red last year in the face of Beijing's economic retaliation over Seoul's deployment of a US anti-missile system here.

The business group became a key target of China's ire after it signed a land-swap deal with the Seoul government to host the missile shield system.

Last week, Hotel Lotte Co., South Korea's largest duty-free operator, returned its money-losing concessions at Incheon International Airport, the country's main gateway, located west of Seoul, after suffering from a plunge in the number of Chinese tourists, a key source of income for the company.

"We will concentrate our efforts to resolve the difficult situation through active on-site management," Vice President Lee said.

Founded in 1948 in Japan, Lotte entered South Korea in 1967 and grew into the country's fifth-largest conglomerate, driven by its success in the retail, food and amusement businesses. Its sprawling empire now includes chemicals, duty-free shops, finance and construction, with a global workforce of 125,000. (Yonhap)