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Lotte Chilsung Beverage CEO's leadership questioned over numerous scandals

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Lotte Chilsung Beverage CEO Park Yun-gie / Korea Times file
Lotte Chilsung Beverage CEO Park Yun-gie / Korea Times file

By Kim Jae-heun

Lotte Chilsung Beverage CEO Park Yun-gie's leadership has been put under the microscope as the company has been involved in several scandals recently.

In June, a Lotte Chilsung employee quit her job after revealing that she had been sexually harassed and verbally abused by a colleague.
The assailant was instantly suspended from his work for five months after the company conducted an internal investigation. But this caused controversy as the company previously stated that it will adopt a "zero tolerance" policy regarding sexual harassment occurring in the office.

Last month, the beverage company was also involved in an embezzlement scandal. An employee working in the global sales team was dismissed after he was found to have stolen 340 million won ($261,257) from the company by producing false statements for many years until last year.

However, Lotte Chilsung closed the case without charging the employee, saying that he had repaid the full amount that had been embezzled. Industry sources said that Park felt burdened by the disclosure of the embezzlement case and he didn't want to create more trouble.

There have also been questions concerning Lotte Chilsung's product quality. A consumer complained online that every time she opened a bottle of Lotte Chilsung's cola product, a strange odor seemed to be present. A number of people agreed with her assessment and said they also had similar experiences.

However, the company said no harmful substances are included in its Pepsi Zero Sugar products and that the smell comes from the bottle itself.

"Even if there is no safety problem with the product, the company should take it seriously as consumers are experiencing an inconvenience with its item. Lotte Chilsung is turning a blind eye to the problem," 34-year-old consumer surnamed Park said.

As the youngest CEO of all Lotte Group affiliates, Park is criticized for only focusing on improving business performance and ignoring problems occurring within the company.

"Park is turning a blind eye to many immoral cases happening in the company. He is being an accomplice of sorts. If this continues, the company will encounter more trouble one day. We need to watch how his stance will change with other issues occurring in the near future," a local retail firm official said.
Kim Jae-heun jhkim@koreatimes.co.kr


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