Japan Labor Shortage Leads to Seven-Eleven President Ouster
Seven-Eleven (7-Eleven is spelled out by the company in Japan) franchisees in Japan have been facing labor shortages and higher wages. That makes their franchisor’s mandate of staying open 24 hours, seven days a week, a major problem. Franchisees have been pressing for a change to the always-open policy, leading Kazuki Furuya to step aside as Seven-Eleven Japan president.
Early this month Takuya Imai of the Nikkei Asian Review wrote:
Seven-Eleven Japan is set to appoint Vice President Fumihiko Nagamatsu as president in the first leadership change since 2016, when the sudden resignation of Toshifumi Suzuki as chairman of parent company Seven & i Holdings forced a shake-up. Current President Kazuki Furuya will serve as chairman of the operating company.
The hope is that Nagamatsu's background in human resources will help him more effectively steer an organization that is still reeling from the departure of its longtime chief. The loss of Suzuki's charismatic leadership, on top of a chronic labor shortage threatening the business model that powered the chain's growth for more than four decades, has proven a difficult combination to handle.
As many expected, brand-new Seven-Eleven Japan president Nagamatsu is proving more flexible on franchisee store hours, as reported last Friday:
"We will let the owners of (franchise stores) make the final decision" on whether to reduce business hours, Fumihiko Nagamatsu, president of Seven-Eleven Japan Co. told a press conference in Tokyo, in a shift from the industry leader's longtime policy of opening stores around-the-clock. — The Mainichi
Photo of a 7-Eleven in Kurogane, Yokohama, Japan by Toshihiro Gamo