Seven & I Said to Discuss Replacing Unit Chief in Snub to Loeb

  • Third Point's Loeb warned against nepotism in CEO succession
  • Company board to meet Thursday ahead of results release

Daniel Loeb, CEO of Third Point LLC.

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Seven & i Holdings Co. plans to propose replacing the Japan head of its main convenience store unit Ryuichi Isaka at a meeting Thursday, ahead of the company’s results announcement, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Ryuichi Isaka in 2009

Source: Sankei/Getty Images

The plan by board members of Japan’s largest retailer runs counter to activist investor Dan Loeb’s argument that Isaka, president of Seven-Eleven Japan Co., should be a leading candidate to become Seven & i’s chief executive officer. The New York-based founder of Third Point LLC on March 27 wrote a letter raising concerns about CEO Toshifumi Suzuki’s health and warning the company against letting nepotism determine his successor.

Third Point is advocating for Seven & i to restructure its Ito-Yokado Co. general-merchandise unit and divest retailers Sogo & Seibu, Barney’s Japan, and Nissen Holdings Co. Suzuki’s successor should focus on running the company as a convenience-store operator, Loeb wrote.

“The board is likely to want to make an independent decision based on ensuring the long-term success of the company,” said Roy Larke, a professor of marketing and Japanese Business at Waikato University, earlier this week. “Loeb is probably right that Seven & i has been slow in forcing efficiency and marketing effectiveness in many of its companies and, ideally, it should address this with some urgency.”

Daniel Loeb

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

The Yomiuri newspaper reported earlier that Seven & i plans to replace Isaka with another executive without saying where it got the information. A company representative said that “nothing has been decided” when asked about the report.

Seven & i fell 1.1 percent to 4,590 yen at 1:20 p.m. in Tokyo trading. The benchmark Topix was little changed.

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