The CEO of 7-Eleven just stepped down with a brutally honest resignation speech

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Most CEOs who get bounced from their positions leave with little fanfare. Their ousters often come in the form of an anodyne press release, with no actual comment from the departing executive other than a bland "I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family."


Not the CEO of 7-Eleven.

The head of the convenience store chain's Japan-based parent company, Seven &i, held a press conference Thursday to announce, in spectacularly honest fashion, that he had lost control of the company's future.

Toshifumi Suzuki, 83, did not mince words at the event, according to multiple accounts of his remarks.

"It is my lack of virtue and I am unbearably ashamed," Suzuki told a news conference, without elaborating on the timing of his resignation.

"I was supposed to attend an analyst meeting tomorrow. But I cannot go there and explain this year's prospects anymore after I decided to quit."

He continued: "I'm to blame for my resignation. I am ashamed that I have to make such explanations," Suzuki said according to Nikkei, "as though he were forcing out his words."


Here's the backstory: American activist investor Dan Loeb, along with other 7-Eleven board members, opposed a move by Suzuki to remove the head of Seven &i’s core unit, Seven-Eleven Japan. The Financial Times says this group believed the executive "had played a critical role in the strong performance of the convenience store operation."

Suzuki was no empty gray-flanneled suit, Reuters reported.

Suzuki is a legendary figure in Japan's retail industry. He brought the 7-Eleven franchise to the country in the 1970s and later took over its U.S. parent.


But rumors, which Suzuki vehemently denied, began to bubble up that he was hoping to position his son to take over the company.

“The criteria used to determine the next CEO should be competence and the ability to run this company successfully, not family ties or preserving the Suzuki family dynasty,” Loeb told Bloomberg.


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.