7-Eleven CEO Steps Down After Clash With Third Point’s Dan Loeb

7-Eleven parent company Seven & i's CEO succession plans have won over a key activist investor.
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7-Eleven parent company Seven & i's CEO succession plans have won over the activist investor that brought down its former chief. 'We are pleased to see that the Seven & i Board's succession planning will be based on merit and the best interests of shareholders,' Loeb (pictured above) said in a statement. His comments come after the Tokyo-based company's CEO, Toshifumi Suzuki, stepped down Thursday following a clash with Loeb over the best way to improve shareholder value at the company. In a March 27 letter to Seven & i Holdings, Loeb raised concerns about the possibility that the company would promote 'managers based on family ties' or demote 'managers who have demonstrated a proven ability to deliver results for shareholders.' A core disagreement between Loeb and Suzuki centered on Ryuichi Isaka, the chief of the company's convenience store operation in Japan. Loeb has argued that Isaka has been instrumental to the success of the company's core business, Seven-Eleven Japan, and 'should be rewarded not demoted.' On Thursday, Seven & i Holdings' board reportedly voted 7-6 in favor, with two abstentions, of a Suzuki proposal to remove Isaka. However, a majority of the 15 directors was needed for the measure to be approved. A Third Point spokeswoman confirmed the details of the vote. Shortly afterwards, Suzuki said he was stepping down. No new CEO has been named. Third Point, which reportedly owns 'millions of dollars' in Seven & i Holdings shares, has been pushing the company to restructure its big-box Ito-Yokado stores and divest some other companies it owns, including Sogo & Seibu, Nissen Holdings, and Barney's Japan. The Third Point spokeswoman declined to comment on The fund's stake in Seven & i Holdings. 'We believe it is imperative that these drags on the company's performance be eliminated as soon as possible,' Loeb said last month. - Ron Orol contributed to this report.