By Kim Tae-gyu
Lotte Group have promoted heir apparent Shin Dong-bin to chairman, accelerating the father-to-son power transfer.
The Seoul-based group announced the promotion Thursday which market observers say heralds the full-fledged start of the second-generation management. Lotte founder Shin Kyuk-ho remains fully engaged in management as “general chairman.”
As Lotte’s second-in-command, the new chairman will help his father, who oversees the group’s overall operations in Korea and Japan where Shin’s eldest son Dong-joo takes charge as vice chairman.
“Chairman Shin Dong-bin spearheaded record-breaking performances of the group last year and masterminded a variety of global businesses,” a Lotte spokesman said. “In line with the extended size of the group, he needs the status commensurate with his roles and activities.”
Dong-bin is now expected to have bigger say. But founder Shin is expected to exert his influence on crucial issues although his role will shrink.
Dong-bin joined Honam Petrochemical Corp., a unit of Lotte, in 1990 as an executive. It took just seven years for the Columbia University graduate to be elevated to vice chairman but it took almost double that period to gain the chairmanship.
The 55-year-old has racked up substantive results in the merger and acquisition markets under the auspice of his father.
As a next-generation owner, he also led the offshore investor relations sessions of the group’s flagship Lotte Shopping in such countries as France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
Such efforts gained him the recognition to head the group’s global initiatives. Lotte has focused on domestic markets but has turned its eyes to offshore customers for further growth.
A total of 172 executives were promoted Thursday with seven new presidents named.