Succession scheme taking shape at Lotte

Lotte Group's year-end reshuffle announced on Wednesday signals a focus on new growth opportunities, placing the third-generation scion at the forefront.

The conglomerate, ranked as the country's sixth-largest, has initiated this year's executive reform as it grapples with declining performance in its major subsidiaries.

During an annual board meeting, a panel of 38 affiliates appointed 14 new chief executive officers.

Among them, Shin Yoo-yeol, the 37-year-old eldest son of Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, is slated to lead a newly established division known as the Future Strategy Office.

Shin, born in 1986, studied environment and information at Japan's Keio University. He began his professional career in 2008 at Nomura Securities Co., mirroring his father's early career, and spent over a decade there before joining Lotte Corp. in Japan in 2020. In 2022, Shin assumed the role of managing director at Lotte Chemical's Tokyo branch.

The newly formed office is expected to concentrate on overseeing sectors such as biopharmaceuticals and health care, with the goal of expanding enterprises aligned with Lotte Group's mid- to long-term vision.

"The office is not designed for a specific field, but rather to address the group's broader new growth business sectors, with a focus on bio and health care, as both fall under this category due to our ongoing expansion," an official at Lotte Group said Thursday. The office's employee count has not been finalized, according to the official.

In addition to leading the Future Strategy Office, Shin will assume an executive role Lotte Biologics' Global Strategy Office, to participate in steering the company toward becoming a global contract development and manufacturing organization, as outlined by the group.

Lotte Group's latest promotions suggest it is seeking a generational shift, with eight CEOs in their 60s stepping down and key executives being replaced to advance the group's core business portfolio.

Lotte Corporation's ESG Management Innovation Office Executive Lee Hoon-ki will head Lotte Chemical, following the retirement of Kim Kyo-hyun, who has led the group's chemical business for the past five years.

Born in 1967, Lee joined the group's planning and coordination office in 1990. He later served as head of Lotte Chemical's planning department in 2010 and as Lotte Rental's CEO in 2019. Since 2020, Lee has overseen mergers and acquisitions and new business opportunities for the group.

"Lee is suitable for strengthening the market competitiveness of chemical affiliates and promoting global business diversification," Lotte Group said in press release.

Meanwhile, Lotte Confectionery CEO Lee Young-gu, who overseas Lotte's food group, will be promoted to vice chairman.

Recognized for creating a stable profit structure through the merger of Lotte Confectionery, Lee has reportedly enhanced the food group's portfolio, expanded global business and secured new growth engines by developing future food products.

In a strategic move to invest in the group's future, Lotte has recruited external experts in various industries known for global competitiveness. This initiative aims to strengthen the group's existing business capabilities and facilitate the expansion of overseas operations.

Jang Jae-hoon, the former CEO of global real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle Korea, is slated to become CEO at Lotte C&T, while Park Ik-jin, former global operations group head of Hong Kong-based Affinity Equity Partners, will lead Lotte E-Commerce. HL REITs Management CEO Kim So-yeon will take on the role of Lotte AMC CEO. Lotte Global Logistics is in the process of recruiting an external logistics specialist who is renowned in the industry for global experience and competitiveness as its head.

Including Kim's appointment, three female CEOs will hold positions at Lotte Group, with Lotte GRF's Shin Min-wook and Lotte Members' Kim Hye-joo.

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