Lotte Mart gets a new CEO

Date : 22 February 2021

Jiong-Jiong Yu

Senior Retail Analyst

Lotte Shopping appointed Kang Sung-hyun, CEO of Lotte Nestle Korea, as the head of its hypermarket chain, Lotte Mart.

Previously a management consultant, joined Lotte in 2009

Kang gained retail experience at strategy consultancy firms Booz Allen Hamilton and Boston Consulting Group, and joined Lotte as Executive Director of the Lotte Strategy & Insight Centre more than a decade ago in 2009.

He became the CEO of LOHB’s, Lotte’s drugstore chain in 2012, and has since been CEO of Lotte Nestle, in charge of manufacturing and distribution of coffee products, pet foods and other industrial raw material concerning coffee products. He now takes the helm of Lotte Mart, also retaining his drugstore responsibilities.

Part of the group’s reshuffle

Kang’s appointment is part of the group’s 2020 year-end reshuffle, which involves 53 positions. The group said it is to reduce the number of senior executives to make space for the younger generation. It is estimated that around 20% of the 600 senior executives will be leaving the company after this reshuffle.

Seen as a proxy competition between Bains and BCG

The industry is paying close attention to the performances of Emart and Lotte Mart.

Emart is under the leadership of Lee Gap-su, an ex-Bains consultant. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Emart has performed relatively well. It posted KRW5.9tn (US$5.4bn) in sales revenue during the third quarter, up 16.7% year-on-year. Its operating profit increased by 30.1%. Lee also started to lead Shinsegae’s ecommerce business in October.

Korea’s industry insiders regard the rivalry between Emart and Lotte Mart as a proxy competition between Bains and BCG, the two CEOs’ former companies.