Lotte's Founder Loses Hotel Lotte Board Seat Amid Family Feud

  • Shin Kyuk Ho had been board member since unit started in 1973
  • Shin's sons are tussling for leadership over the retail group

An employee arranges a bed inside a royal suite room at the Hotel Lotte Co. Seoul hotel in South Korea.

Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Shin Kyuk Ho, the 93-year-old founder of Korean-Japanese retail giant Lotte Group, has lost his board seat at the family-controlled conglomerate’s lodgings and duty-free sales unit Hotel Lotte Co. amid a leadership struggle between two of his sons.

Shin’s term expired on March 28, Lotte Group said in a statement. He had been a board member since 1973, when the unit was founded.

Shin’s elder son Dong Joo last July attempted to oust his brother Dong Bin as chairman of the group, only to see that plan backfire and their father sidelined. The patriarch, who started Lotte in Japan in 1948, earlier this month also lost his board seat at another unit Lotte Confectionery Co., while Dong Bin was re-appointed.

Shareholders of Tokyo-based Lotte Holdings Co., a particularly important unit within the group because of its stakes in key affiliates and its role in coordinating strategy, on March 6 voted to oppose a measure to remove Shin Dong Bin that was proposed by his elder brother.

Shin Dong Bin has been pushing for a public offering of Hotel Lotte that could help reduce stakes in the unit held by the group’s Japanese affiliates, a complicated relationship that has caused Lotte to be lambasted by Korean politicians. The IPO will be postponed to June from May 12, the Seoul Economic Daily reported March 14, citing unidentified officials in investment banking industry.

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