Masatoshi Ito, a Japanese billionaire who assisted in building the 7-Eleven convenience stores into a massive international corporation, passed away at the age of 98.
Operator Seven & I Holdings stated in a statement that he passed away on Friday of last week due to old age.
He was good to us during his lifetime, and we want to thank him from the bottom of our hearts for that, the company stated.
Around one-fourth of the world’s 83,000 7-Eleven locations are in Japan.
When his uncle and half-brother left the firm in 1956, Mr. Ito took over the little Tokyo clothing store.
Later, Mr. Ito changed the name to Ito-Yokado and transformed the company into a network of one-stop shops that offered everything from groceries to clothing. In 1972, it was made public.
During a trip to the US around this time, Toshifumi Suzuki, an executive of Ito-Yokado, noticed a 7-Eleven store.
The owner of 7-Eleven, the US-based Southland Corporation, and Ito-Yokado later worked out an agreement, and in 1974, Japan’s first 7-Eleven was launched. In March 1990, Mr. Ito’s company took action to buy a majority share in Southland Company.
“I am frequently questioned about whether my success was a result of my own efforts or luck alone. In reality, both of these are true “As stated in an interview with Mr. Ito.
I was lucky to have launched my firm immediately following the war, at a time when Japan was starting to experience the emergence of a widespread consumer society.
In 1992, Mr. Ito resigned from his position at Ito-Yokado due to allegations that three executives had paid yakuza gunmen in violation of the law in order to maintain order at a shareholders’ meeting.
In 2005, Seven & I Holdings took the place of Ito-Yokado. In recognition of Ito-Yokado and Mr. Ito, who served as the business’ honorary chairman, the I in the company’s name is a nod.
Peter Drucker, an American-Austrian management expert, was a friend of Mr. Ito, who also had an impact on him.
“In the early years of his relationship with Dr Drucker, the two would connect in America or Japan and spend long evenings discussing the world economy, the Japanese economy, and the direction in which Mr Ito should be planning,” according to the Drucker School of Management, which counts Mr Ito as a major donor.
One of the world’s top businessmen and entrepreneurs, according to Prof. Drucker, is Mr. Ito.