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Formerly outspoken billionaire takes down social media posts

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : March 28, 2024 - 14:13

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(Chung Yong-jin's Instagram page) (Chung Yong-jin's Instagram page)

Chung Yong-jin, the recently appointed chairman of Shinsegae Group, had deleted nearly all of the posts from his Instagram page as of Thursday, fanning speculations that he may be quitting his stepping back from his activities on social media.

Chung's page, which has some 843,000 followers, only has a few posts remaining that contain only photos and no text. The photos are of nature, of him reading or holding presentations or of him meeting famous people like former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

On Wednesday the chairman switched the account to private and hid all his posts, before switching it back to public. Comments he had had written with the photos had also been erased, such as one that had said, "Dear reporters, you could read more into this meeting," which had been on his photo with Jeter.

The abrupt change in approach to social media by the 55-year-old business mogul is thought by some as a move to avoid controversy since taking the helm of the country's second-biggest department store chain early this month. Chung's public comments on Instagram had invited suspicion as being politically charged in the past, such as comments seen as being critical toward the previous Moon Jae-in administration's policy on China.

Shinsegae’s operations recently hit a snag, with its flagship E-mart Inc. marking its first-ever operating loss in 2023. The country's largest supermarket chain has been recommending to employees who have worked 15 or more years that they retire early, in a bid to downsize its workforce.