No fireworks at South Korea’s Lotte World Tower this spring
Lotte reduces fancy events amid leadership vacuum
By Park Jae-hyuk
Lotte has decided not to display fireworks at Lotte World Tower in the first half of this year, amid a leadership vacuum following Chairman Shin Dong-bin’s imprisonment, the conglomerate said Monday.
According to industry officials, the retail giant initially considered hosting fireworks shows at the nation’s tallest tower this April, May and December.
The 123-story skyscraper hosted an 11-minute-long fireworks show worth 4 billion won (US$3.7 million) last April to celebrate the eve of the tower’s opening and the conglomerate’s 50th anniversary, attracting about 400,000 visitors to view it at nearby Seokchon Lake. The 555-meter building also put on a 555-second fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
Lotte’s recent decision has therefore caused concerns it may fear negative public sentiments toward the company embroiled in corruption charges.
Last month, the Seoul Central District Court found Chairman Shin guilty of offering a bribe of 7 billion won to the K-Sports Foundation led by former President Park Geun-hye’s friend Choi Soon-sil in return for favours regarding Lotte’s duty free business. Shin was immediately taken into custody following the court ruling and ordered to forfeit the same amount he offered Choi.
Since then, Lotte Vice Chairman Hwang Kak-kyu organised an emergency management committee to cope with the conglomerate’s first-ever owner absence in its 50-year history.
Lotte said the committee has urged high-ranking executives to refrain from golfing with company employees and clients, as well as hosting unnecessary events. The committee only allowed the executives to hold scheduled events for customers.
The recommendation has been regarded as a de facto ban on golfing among Lotte’s executives.
“As we are under emergency management, we have abstained from doing things that may arouse public criticism,” a Lotte spokesman said. “Apart from this, we will continue our corporate social responsibility activities for our customers.”
Lotte is reportedly considering simplifying or cancelling the 51st anniversary ceremony scheduled for April 3 in line with the committee’s policy.
The spokesman, however, said Lotte Property & Development, the conglomerate’s leasing service affiliate operating Lotte World Tower, is exclusively in charge of the fireworks.
The tower’s operator said it will only hold discount events in the first half of this year, but it denied speculation that the leadership vacuum may have caused the cancellation of spring fireworks.
“We are considering hosting a fireworks show in the second half of the year,” a Lotte Property & Development spokesman said. “Although we have yet to decide the specific schedule, we will hold the event on a meaningful day, when the fireworks can be shown to as many citizens as possible.”