Seven & I Chief Isaka Likely to Be Ousted by U.S. Fund

REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo
The logo of Seven & I Holdings is seen at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A partner of U.S. activist fund ValueAct Capital expressed confidence that shareholders of Japanese retailer Seven & i Holdings Co. will approve a proposal to remove Ryuichi Isaka as president.

The proposal from ValueAct Capital has garnered wide support among institutional investors both inside and outside Japan, Robert Hale, who is in charge of Japanese stock investment at the U.S. fund, said in a written interview with Jiji Press. Seven & i shareholders meet in Tokyo on Thursday. Over 90% of votes cast at the previous shareholders’ meeting supported Isaka.

Hale reiterated ValueAct Capital’s demand that Seven & i focus on the convenience store business.

Seven & i will miss its chance to grow unless it does selection and concentration, especially at a time when rivals focus on one business area, Hale said.

Seven & i currently operates its flagship Seven-Eleven convenience store chain, as well as supermarkets including struggling Ito-Yokado chain.

Hale said that supermarket operations will be better suited to meet local needs if they are cut off from the holding company.