”Historically, shareholder activism has rarely been successful at Japanese companies. However, as Japan moves closer to a Western model of corporate governance, shareholders may be playing a larger role in the strategy and leadership of some Japanese companies. This has recently been exemplified by the apparent influence of Daniel Loeb, from the hedge fund Third Point, on the leadership of Seven & i Holdings (“the Company”), which holds its annual general meeting on Thursday, May 26.
Earlier this year, Third Point actively opposed the removal of Mr. Ryuichi Isaka from his current position of president at the Company’s core subsidiary, Seven-Eleven Japan Co., Ltd. The idea of switching the head of the largest convenience store operator in Japan came from Mr. Toshifumi Suzuki, the incumbent executive chairman of the Company and Seven-Eleven Japan, who founded the very first Japanese convenience store back in 1973. Mr. Suzuki was reportedly not satisfied with Mr. Isaka’s performance – despite Seven-Eleven Japan’s increasing profit record for five consecutive years. There were also reports that Mr. Suzuki had plans to nominate his son, who serves as a director and the chief information officer of the Company, as the next president of Seven-Eleven Japan and eventually of the Company, however, Mr. Suzuki denied this rumour.
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Source: Glass Lewis
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