Seven & i's 83-year-old CEO quits after board rejects his proposal
Shares of Seven & i lost as much as 8.6% in morning trade, but pared losses after news of the vote and after reports of the CEO’s departure. The stock closed down 1.6 percent, versus a 0.2% rise in the benchmark Nikkei index.
On Thursday, Seven & i also reported a 2.6% rise in operating profit for the year ended February, at 352.3 billion yen ($3.25 billion).
The failure is a rarity in Japan where corporate boards traditionally endorse management, particularly at Seven & i, where Suzuki has held sway for decades.
It is not clear who will succeed Suzuki but the retention of Isaka will for now be claimed as a victory for Loeb, CEO of investment adviser Third Point and a rare outsider challenging corporate Japan.
In the open letter, Loeb urged the retailer to retain Isaka, saying “rumors” of Isaka’s planned removal were of “significant concern.”
The chain has regularly accounted for nearly 70% of Seven & i’s profit.
Loeb’s company Third Point, which owns an undisclosed amount of Seven & i, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Also in Loeb’s letter, the activist investor raised concerns about rumors that Suzuki was grooming his son, Seven & i’s Chief Information Officer Yasuhiro Suzuki, as his successor.
The elder Suzuki said he was surprised at such rumors having never “uttered any such things,” and that his son did not consider such prospect.
The board’s latest decision comes as Japanese firms work to improve corporate governance through measures such as appointing more outside directors, after the government called on companies to do more to attract foreign capital.
Last month, Seven & i said it had set up a nomination and compensation committee headed by an outside director.
今回取り上げるのはgroomです。『ライトハウス英和辞典』（第5版 研究社）で調べてみますと、「名詞で 1馬丁 2花婿 動詞で 1（馬）を手入れする 2（主に過去分詞で前に副詞を伴って）（…）の身づくろいをする 3（人）を訓練する、仕込む」という意味があることが分かりました。