Lotte chair returns as co-CEO of Japanese unit

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Lotte chair returns as co-CEO of Japanese unit

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was reappointed to co-CEO of the conglomerate’s Japanese unit Lotte Holdings on Wednesday.

The decision was made according to a vote in a board of directors’ meeting held in Lotte Holdings’ headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, that afternoon.

“Chairman Shin’s management skills that led Lotte’s growth is in desperate need at a time the business environment is changing fast amid a highly uncertain global economy and digitalization,” the company was quoted as saying by Yonhap.

As before his recent conviction, Shin will be at the helm of Lotte Holdings next to co-CEO Takayuki Tsukuda.

The return comes exactly a year after he voluntarily resigned from the position after being sentenced to prison on bribery charges connected to then-President Park Geun-hye’s confidante Choi Soon-sil. According to Japanese convention, convicted corporate heads are often encouraged to step down. Shin was released last October.

Lotte Group, the conglomerate’s Korean unit, released a statement after the announcement on Wednesday saying it “greatly welcomes” the vote result.

“Lotte has gone through many difficulties since 2015 - both in and outside the company,” it said. “Chairman Shin’s return as CEO of Lotte Holdings will provide firm ground to overcome these hardships.”

Lotte Holdings take up a significant part of the company’s domestic business. The Japanese unit owns a majority stake in the unlisted Lotte Hotel, which in turn has shares across multiple affiliates in Korea.

The initial public offering of Lotte Hotel is a pivotal task in Chairman Shin’s goal to transform Lotte into a holding company structure and push down the proportion of Japanese stakeholders on the Korean side of the business.

It remains to be seen if his return to Lotte Holdings’ co-CEO position will speed up the process of convincing Japanese stakeholders to push a proposed public offering of Lotte Hotel.

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