Lee Kap is expected to bring an ambitious globalisation and digitalisation approach.

SOUTH KOREA. Lotte Duty Free has named Lee Kap as its new CEO, effective 1 January, replacing Jang Sun-wook who becomes a senior advisor to the retailer. Jang had held the leadership role since late 2015.

Lee (family name) was formerly CEO at Lotte Group’s Daehong Communications business.

Jang Sun-wook steps down as Lotte Duty Free goes for growth.

According to company sources, Lee is a product, planning and marketing expert. He has led Daehong for two years, having joined Lotte Group through its department store business in 1987. He was born in 1962 and majored in sociology at Korea University.

“Our new CEO has a lot of experience in marketing and merchandising,” said a company spokesman. “While competition is getting more intensified in both domestic and foreign markets, he will do his best to find breakthroughs.”

From 2009 to 2011 he was  Director of Women’s Fashion Merchandise at Lotte Department Store, before becoming that retailer’s Director of Marketing. In 2013 he assumed a senior role at Lotte corporate headquarters before taking the Daehong role in 2016.

Lee is said to have championed Daehong’s efforts to digitalise and globalise its offering.

Those qualities are sure to prove important at Lotte Duty Free as it battles to offset softening profits, increasing domestic rivalry, a potential slump in Chinese spending caused by the Mainland’s crackdown on travelling daigou shoppers, and proliferating online competitors.

Lotte Duty Free is the world’s second-biggest travel retailer, according to The Moodie Davitt Report’s 2017 benchmarking survey. But to grow its business, and particularly its profitability, it will need to make further inroads internationally as domestic rivalry intensifies.