Seven & i's 83-year-old CEO quits after board rejects his proposal
By Taiga Uranaka and Ritsuko Shimizu
TOKYO (Reuters) - The veteran boss of retail group Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd (3382.T: Quote), who pioneered 24-hour convenience stores in Japan four decades ago, said on Thursday that he is stepping down to take responsibility for a failed management reshuffle.
The patriarch's sudden departure without a named successor creates a power vacuum at the sprawling conglomerate, with its 50,000 employees and $90 billion in sales, just as it revamps struggling supermarkets and department stores.
The boardroom surprise at one of the country's biggest firms also signals a change in atmosphere in Japanese corporate governance, where management traditionally enjoyed support by big shareholders and board members.
The 83-year-old Chief Executive and Chairman Toshifumi Suzuki said he decided to quit after a board meeting in which he failed to garner enough votes to replace the president of group convenience store chain, Seven-Eleven Japan.
"It is my lack of virtue and I am unbearably ashamed," Suzuki told a news conference, without elaborating on the timing of his resignation.
"I was supposed to attend an analyst meeting tomorrow. But I cannot go there and explain this year's prospects anymore after I decided to quit."
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