See More on Facebook

Business

Former Korean Air chairman dies in California

Cho Yang-ho resigned after numerous controversy over his family lowered stock prices.


Written by

Updated: April 9, 2019

Cho Yang-ho, Hanjin Group and Korean Air chairman, has died from a lung disease in the US, Korean Air said Monday.

The 70-year-old business tycoon died at a hospital in Los Angeles, where he had been receiving medical treatment for pulmonary fibrosis since December, the company said.

His condition had dramatically worsened recently after he had been stressed about losing a board seat at his group’s core unit, Korean Air, a company official said.

All his family members, his wife, Lee Myung-hee, his son, Korean Air President Cho Won-tae, and two daughters, former Korean Air Vice President Cho Hyun-ah and former Korean Air Executive Director Cho Hyun-min, had stayed by Cho’s deathbed.

Hanjin Group said business management will continue without interruption. Korean Air said details of the funeral would be decided soon and transporting the late chairman to Korea might take up to a week.

Cho’s death comes about two weeks after he was voted out from Korean Air’s board, making him the first founding family member of a major conglomerate to be forced off a board.

Shareholders voted to end his board tenure after Cho and his family members became embroiled in a series of scandals related to misconduct.

Despite his ouster from the board, Cho had retained management rights with shares held by his family.

Since October last year, Cho had been on trial on charges of embezzlement of company funds worth 27 billion won ($23.6 million) and breach of trust. He had denied the charges against him.

His wife and two daughters were also investigated over allegations including the assault of employees and the illegal hiring of foreign housekeepers.

The owner family has frequently made headlines with incidents involving “gabjil,” which refers to using their positions to mistreat subordinates.

Cho Hyun-ah had sparked outrage with the “nut rage” incident in 2014. She had forced a plane to return to the gate over the way her nuts were served. The second daughter, Cho Hyun-min, was embroiled in the “water rage” incident, in which she allegedly threw water at the employee of a contracted ad agency.

The Seoul Southern District Court said Monday that it will stop Cho Yang Ho’s trial proceedings and dismiss the indictment upon the death of the defendant. The prosecution also said it will cease all investigations into allegations involving Cho, including the evasion of inheritance taxes.

Following Cho’s death, his son, Cho Won-tae, is expected to succeed his late father as chairman of the group, which has Korean Air, budget carrier Jin Air, Hanjin KAL and several other affiliates under its wing.

Cho Won-tae was appointed vice president in 2016 and promoted in 2017.

Market watchers, however, say that the succession process may be hampered due to a lack of preparation and weak corporate governance structure. In addition, there could be challenges such as those posed by activist hedge fund Korea Corporate Governance Improvement, which has been preparing to strengthen its power as the second-largest shareholder.

But for now, with the reappointment of Hanjin KAL CEO Suk Tae-soo on the board of directors in March, a close ally to the late Cho, it is likely that Hanjin Group will have time to smooth out its succession plans under Suk’s management.

Earlier this year, the late Cho said he planned to resign from executive positions at the group’s six affiliates in March, when his board term expires.

The late chairman was born in 1949 as the first son of Korean Air founder Cho Jung-hun. He began working at Korean Air in 1974 and was appointed chairman in 1999. He had served as Hanjin Group chairman since 2003. He also served as chairman of the 2018 Winter Olympics bidding committee for PyeongChang and chairman of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Organizing Committee.

On Monday, shares of Korean Air jumped 1.8 percent to close at 32,500 won, while the benchmark Kospi was little changed.

The Cho family currently holds a 33.3 percent stake in Korean Air, as Cho Won-tae currently serves as CEO of Korean Air. The owner family has a 29 percent stake in Hanjin KAL.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Business

China acknowledges Pakistan’s efforts in ‘combating terrorism, extremism’

The foreign ministers of both countries made the statement after a bilateral visit. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday appreciated Pakistan’s efforts “in firmly combating terrorism and extremism”, noting that Islamabad had Beijing’s support in the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP), according to a joint statement issued by the two countries. Yi’s evaluation came following a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is currently on an official tour of China. “The Chinese side called on the international community to view Pakistan’s counterterrorism efforts and contributions in an objective and fair manner, and to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with Pakistan,” the joint statement read. Both sides also noted that it was a “diplomatic priority” to further strengthen the “all-weathe


By Dawn
June 14, 2019

Business

Vietnam to be among world’s most dynamic markets by 2030

The country has reached amazing levels of progress in the last two decades. With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research company. An Hodgson, Euromonitor International’s income and expenditure research manager, said the company’s research database showed that urbanisation, with the associated concentration of income, wealth and population, would propel Việt Nam’s commercial success by 2030. Published last month, the research database has found that Vietnam will be the third biggest urban market by consumer numbers and fifth biggest by total spending in Southeast Asia. By 2030, the country’s urban consumer market will expand to 46 million consumers and $169 billion worth of spending. GDP growth is expected to rea


By Viet Nam News
June 13, 2019

Business

China blames ‘lawlessness’ for Hong Kong

Lawlessness undermining rule of law in Hong Kong, says China Daily editorial. The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has explained many times the proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s fugitive law are meant to better protect Hong Kong society by plugging the loopholes in the existing laws in order to enhance the rule of law. Rather than pushing through a bill against the wishes of Hong Kong society as some have tried to portray, the government has made changes to the proposed bill more than once in response to concerns expressed in the community. As a result, most of the members of Legislative Council of the special administrative region, who are accountable to their voters, now support the amendments. Nor is it a hasty or unnecessary move. Indeed the need for an extradition agreement with the mainland was acknowledged by government officials and legal experts ahead of H


By China Daily
June 13, 2019

Business

The Rohingya need an answer

Myanmar and Asean neighbours plough ahead with plans to repatriate refugees, ignoring concerns of the stateless minority. Repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar’s conflict-torn Rakhine state will be on the table when Asean leaders meet later this month in Bangkok. Also in their hands wil be a report on the positive prospects for repatriation, written by an assessment team that spent months in Rakhine earlier this year. However, any leader convinced that the process will go smoothly would be succumbing to false hope. The regional grouping, of which Myanmar is also a member, agreed last November in Singapore to help facilitate the return of the Rohingya, who fled a campaign of violence by Myanmar troops and vigilantes beginning in August 2017. Bangladesh and Myanmar last year signed a pact to repatriate hundreds of thousands of the victims. The first batch was supposed to leave camps on t


By The Nation (Thailand)
June 12, 2019

Business

Li pledges to improve business climate

Li Keqiang says China taking steps to open up economy to foreign businesses Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed China’s commitment to improving its business environment by deepening reforms to streamline administration and carrying out large-scale tax cuts and fee reductions. Li said in a meeting on Tuesday with World Bank President David Malpass that the country will bring its business environment more in line with market principles, international standards and the rule of law as part of efforts to promote high-quality development. He noted China’s cooperation with the World Bank, which is in keeping with its steps in reform and opening-up and benefited the country’s growth. The global landscape is complex and fluid, and the Chinese economy is facing various risks and challenges, he said. Further cooperation between China and the World Bank will help promote poverty reduction, narrow


By China Daily
June 12, 2019

Business

Restrictions on Chinese firms could drive up 5G cost

China is increasing pressure on consumers in a bid to end restriction on its major tech firms. Europe would have to pay an extra 55 billion euros ($62 billion) for 5G networks and suffer an 18-month technology delay if it bans telecom equipment purchases from top Chinese manufacturers, according to an industrial report. The report by the GSM Association, which represents 750 mobile operators worldwide, said Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, the non-Chinese contenders in the 5G market, do not have the capacity to handle all of the shift from 3G and 4G networks to 5G in Europe while honoring contracts already signed in North America and Asia. Huawei and ZTE account for about 40 percent of the EU market, and Huawei is “currently a pioneer in 5G technology”, according to the GSM analysis, first reported by Reuters and Agence France-Presse on Friday. “A ban on Chinese v


By China Daily
June 11, 2019