Lotte to create 24,000 new jobs by 2018

August 7, 2015


SEOUL (Yonhap) — South Korean retail giant Lotte Group announced plans Friday to hire 24,000 new workers by 2018 in what is seen as efforts to allay escalating criticism over an ugly family feud for control of the country’s No. 5 conglomerate.

Lotte is mired in an ownership dispute involving Shin Kyuk-ho, 93, and his two sons, Dong-joo and Dong-bin, who had each controlled the company’s operations in Japan and Korea until early this year. While Dong-joo was ousted from key positions at Japanese units, Dong-bin took the helm at Japan-based Lotte Holdings, the group’s holding firm.

The seemingly smooth power transition took a nasty twist late last month when Kyuk-ho and Dong-joo tried to dethrone Dong-bin from Lotte Holdings. The unexpected development has unleashed a series of backstabbings, lies and betrayals involving the Shin clan.

Dong-bin, in turn, demoted his father from general chairman of Lotte Holdings to honorary chairman, claiming his father has a “weakened mental capacity” at his advanced age.

Of the new hires, which also include internships, roughly 40 percent will be set aside for female candidates, the group said.

Lotte projected the plan to increase direct employment by over 60 percent to 155,000 jobs by 2020.

“Creating jobs is a company’s responsibility, as well as a foundation for sustainable growth. We plan to bolster employment to give more opportunities to competitive young people,” Lotte Vice Chairman Lee In-won said in a press release.

The plan comes as the retail conglomerate is facing all-out government scrutiny, involving the national tax agency and the fair trade watchdog, which is looking to clarify the company’s complicated shareholder structure amid the ongoing fight.

The bitter squabble between the founder and his two sons put the group’s clandestine ownership structure and bleak corporate decision-making in the spotlight. These two characteristics of the country’s family-controlled conglomerates have long enraged the public.

The government, meanwhile, has been urging companies to increase their employment of fresh graduates amid bleak job circumstances for the younger generation.

In a televised speech on Thursday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye said, “It’s time to make a determination for our sons and daughters, as well as for the future of the country.”

The unemployment rate for young people between the ages of 15 and 29 stood at 10.2 percent in June, compared with the overall jobless rate of 3.9 percent, according to government data.