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Hotel Shilla taps ex-Nuance Group CEO for overseas push

Hotel Shilla, the operator of South Korea's No. 2 duty-free chain Shilla Duty Free, said Wednesday it has tapped a former chief executive at Swiss duty-free firm Nuance Group in what is seen as its aggressive efforts to expand abroad.

Roberto Graziani, who led Nuance Group for over 10 years, will be acting as a standing adviser for Hotel Shilla's duty-free business and vice chairman of its U.S. subsidiary, the Samsung affiliate said in a press release.

The industry veteran stepped down from the top post last year when the Swiss company was acquired by bigger local rival Dufry AG, which is estimated to control roughly 15 percent of the global airport retail market.

"Graziani will help bolster Hotel Shilla's duty-free business strategy and ties with partners, as well as contribute to expanding Shilla Duty Free's global business capacity," the company said.

The former Nuance Group CEO, the first foreigner to take such a position in Hotel Shilla, will be mostly based in the United States while making occasional visits to the company's headquarters in central Seoul, a media official said.

The announcement comes as the duty-free operator is fiercely moving to expand abroad. In the latest move, the company purchased a 44 percent stake in U.S. duty-free firm DFASS for $105 million. (Yonhap)