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Shareholders back daughter over father in Japanese family business feud

Investors have backed the second-generation chief executive of Otsuka Kagu in a feud with her father, who wanted her ousted from the family business.

Kumiko Otsuka, 47, succeeded her father to the helm of the Japanese furniture retailer in 2009, and has been attempting to give the company more mass market appeal in order to compete with brands like Ikea.

However, her father, company founder Katsuhisa Otsuka, has accused her of taking the firm down market.

The 71-year-old patriarch already ousted Otsuka in July and reinstated himself at the helm of the company, but a new board returned his daughter as CEO in January.

But Katsuhisa has brought the issue before shareholders, attracting widespread media attention to the family feud.

At a shareholders meeting on Friday, Katsuhisa, supported by Otsuka’s mother, made a rambling speech about his daughter, the eldest of five children, even describing how she had been a “difficult birth”.

Katsuhisa has an 18% stake in the family business, according to Nikkei Asian Review, and also had the support of his eldest son.

But shareholders did not vote in the couple’s favour. Proxy advisory firms Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass Lewis were among those that voted Otsuka should remain as CEO.

Founded in 1969, Otsuka Kagu had revenues of 55.50 billion yen ($458.4 million) in 2014.

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