The Lotte group was established in 1948 by Shin Kyuk-Ho in Tokyo as a snack maker. He later expanded to South Korea in 1967, and went on to become the country’s fifth largest business conglomerate. Today it consists of over 80 business units employing 60,000 people engaged in such diverse industries as candy manufacturing, beverages, hotels, fast food, retail, financial services, heavy chemicals, electronics, IT, construction, publishing, and entertainment.
However a bitter fraternal battle for control over the group has ensued among the founder Shin Kyuk-Ho (93) and his sons, Shin Dong-Joo (61) and Shin Dong-Bin (60). Shin Dong-Joo was once considered the heir apparent until he was ousted from his position by his younger brother last year. This bitter public family feud, led the government to deny the routine renewal of license to operate its duty free shops. It was seen as a rebuke by many analysts.
Now in a recent development, the nonagenarian founder of Korean chaebol has lost his board seat amidst the ongoing leadership struggle. According to a company statement, shareholders of Hotel Lotte agreed not to reappoint him as a board member when his term expired. Last year the founder was demoted from the position of General Chairman to Honorary Chairman in Lotte Holdings. It is a sad commentary on the succession challenges facing even the most successful of business firms.